FIRST ON FOX: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and House Education Committee ranking member Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., sent a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona Wednesday demanding he turn over his correspondence with teachers unions.

The House Republican leaders torched the Biden administration secretary over school closures across America and the massive amount of education spending from the Democrats’ American Rescue Plan in a letter exclusively obtained by Fox News.

"We noted Congress had already appropriated nearly three times the funding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said was needed to operate schools successfully," the lawmakers wrote.


House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy walks through the Rotunda at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Nov. 17, 2021.  (REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz)

"Unfortunately, rather than continuing Congress’s bipartisan approach to addressing COVID-19, Democrats advanced their partisan agenda, approving more than $120 billion in additional funding for schools," the letter continues.

The Republican leaders noted that the Democrats "argued their radical spending was necessary" to safely reopen schools, and that the GOP were proven correct in knowing the Democrats weren’t telling the truth.

Additionally, the lawmakers noted that December department data showed only 4% of American Rescue Plan funds for school districts had been touched.

Rep. Virginia Foxx speaks at a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center in support of the plaintiffs in the Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores case. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

"At the same time, your agency released data in December showing during the fall nearly 99 percent of public school fourth- and eighth-graders were attending school in person full time," McCarthy and Foxx wrote. "So, through nearly half of the 2021-2022 school year, most schools were reopened while almost all the ARP funding for schools had gone untouched."

"To the extent schools are spending ARP funds at all, several are reportedly spending their funds on left wing ideological projects," they continued. "This is not surprising. Despite Democrats’ claims to the contrary, these funds were not needed to reopen schools."

McCarthy and Foxx called the Biden administration’s response to disrupted learning across America "appalling" and called on the secretary to "do more" to address the school closures.

During a House Education and Labor Committee hearing on the priorities of the Department of Education, first-term Rep. Mary Miller, R-Ill., asked Education Secretary Miguel Cardona about an educational material disseminated to students and their families entitled "Confronting Anti-LGBTQI+ Harassment in Schools." 

"In light of these documented harms, your tepid response to the return of school closures is tragically inadequate," they wrote. "During the Committee’s consideration of the ARP last year, Republicans offered five different amendments that would have required schools to maintain in-person instruction as a condition of receiving ARP aid. Unfortunately, Democrats blocked each of those proposals."

"Ensuring children have access to K-12 classrooms should be the baseline of our responsibilities," they also wrote. "As the head of the Department of Education, you cannot continue to sit idly by as families and students are left scrambling at the whim of special interests."


The Republican leaders concluded the letter by demanding several documents from the secretary, including a "copy of any emails exchanged between or among Department of Education political appointees and the White House staff, teachers union representatives, Chicago school officials, Milwaukee school officials, Detroit school officials, or Boston school officials regarding school closures."

A spokesperson for the Department of Education told Fox News in a statement that the funds are needed desperately to get schools open again and deal with the pandemic's impact on children learning.

Additionally, the spokesperson pointed to how the schools are using the American Rescue Plan funds to get back to learning post-COVID.