House Republicans aim to strip funding from medical schools over diversity programs

“They should be ashamed of themselves,” said U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN. - AUGUST 2022: Medical student Benjamin Owens smiles as he gets his white coat from Dr. Nersi Nikakhtar during the University of Minnesota Medical Schools annual White Coat Ceremony for the class of 2026 Friday, Aug. 19, 2022 at the Northrop Memorial Auditorium on the University campus in Minneapolis. The Class of 2026 on the Twin Cities Campus includes 167 students with half of them Black, Indigenous and people of color. (Photo by Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

House Democrats are slamming Republicans for efforts to strip federal funding from medical schools that offer diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs and teach about white supremacy.

U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., told theGrio that this latest effort by House Republicans is “disgusting.”

“They should be ashamed of themselves,” declared Kelly. “Diversity, equity, and inclusion means everybody, but they don’t look at it like that.”

U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost, D-Fla., told theGrio this is “the same bigoted moves and type of legislation we’ve seen the past few years.”

U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., told theGrio that House Republicans are not “interested in creating opportunities for people.” The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) chairman said, “They’re actually proposing ideas to take them away.”

Earlier this week, Rep. Greg Murphy, R-N.C., a practicing urologist, introduced “The EDUCATE Act,” which aims to strip federal funding, including student loan programs, from medical schools offering DEI programs and scholarships for certain racial groups. 

In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Murphy slammed medical schools for teaching what he claimed were subjects about “intersectionality,” “colonization,” and “white supremacy.”

“The implementation of DEI programs into medical school curricula is discriminatory and threatens the integrity of the profession,” Murphy wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “We must rid our institutions of this harmful initiative.”

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, 5.7% of doctors in the U.S. are Black, 6.9% are Hispanic, 20.9% are Asian, and 63.9% are white.

Congresswoman Kelly told theGrio that if the bill is enacted into law, it would hamper efforts to diversify the medical field, which would negatively impact patients.

UNITED STATES – OCTOBER 27: Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., speaks during the Congressional Black Caucus news conference in the Capitol on Black priorities in the infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better agenda on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

“We need more doctors of color, and there are reports that show you have a better experience when there’s someone who looks like you and understands the reality of your situation,” said the Democratic lawmaker. “They want to take that away. Shame on them.”

Congressman Horsford told theGrio that the CBC refuses to let House Republicans “take away our tools of opportunity.”

“Whether it be in education, business, medical schools, or in the public or private sector,” said Horsford.

Frost said the Republican-led bill is “unfortunate,” telling theGrio, “We’ve got to fight back with everything we got.”

Horsford already started pushing back against House Republican-led efforts to terminate DEI programs in education. Recently, he wrote a letter on behalf of the CBC to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, asking the nation’s top prosecutor to intervene and protect the rights of people of color.

In the letter, the caucus urged Garland “to open an investigation on state universities and college campuses that received federal funding, to ensure that they’re not violating the civil rights protections under the law.”

“We aren’t going to be silent in this moment,” said Horsford. “They’re coming after the tools of opportunity, and we’re working to defend it.”

Even if the bill were to pass in the House, it is unlikely the Democratic-majority Senate would advance it.

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