Donald Trump has called for a major federal agency to be eliminated -- here's how he could legally do it

During his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump repeatedly hit out at the role of federal government in education, arguing instead for increased local control in schools. He’s also hinted in the past that the US Department of Education (ED) should be abolished.

“A lot of people believe the Department of Education should just be eliminated. Get rid of it. If we don’t eliminate it completely, we certainly need to cut its power and reach,” he wrote in his book
Great Again: How to Fix Our Crippled America.”

The ED was created in 1979 through the Department of Education Organisation Act passed by Congress. The department’s main functions include administering federal assistance to schools and enforcing federal education laws.

It seems Trump does indeed have the Constitutional ability to shutter the ED for good, assuming he has the support of Congress.

“It would of course require another Act of Congress to eliminate the United States Department of Education,” Harvard legal scholar Laurence Tribe told Business Insider in 2015.

“There is no Constitutional obstacle to the enactment of such a law,” added Tribe, one of the most prominent constitutional scholars in the nation, who counted President Barack Obama among his research assistants.

This makes Trump’s pledge to eliminate the ED not a legally impossible feat, though it would certainly not be something he could achieve on his own. “No president could eliminate the Department unilaterally, by executive order or otherwise,” Tribe said.

Education policy was largely a second-tier issue during Trump’s campaign, which focused instead on issues like national security, trade, and Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.

Still, in the plan for his first 100 days in office, he described his intention to bring
educational supervision to local communities. It remains to be seen if he reinvigorates the call to abolish the US Department of Education.

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