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Vox Sentences: Two federal departments for the price of one?

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Trump wants to merge two wildly different departments

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
  • The Trump administration is floating a proposal to merge the US Department of Education and the Department of Labor into one new department, tentatively titled the “Department of Education and the Workforce.” [Vox / Libby Nelson]
  • There are many experts who believe this would essentially be tantamount to eliminating the Education Department, which was a Donald Trump campaign promise. [NPR / Clare Lombardo and Alexis Arnold]
  • The Education Department is a $70 billion department, but its current leader, Betsy DeVos, has made it clear that she’s fine with the proposed changes. She’s long sought to “streamline” (a.k.a. cut) program and staff, arguing that public education is better done by states and local communities. [CNN / Sara Ganim, Juana Summers, Rene Marsh and Aaron Kessler]
  • But the two departments do some very different things. The Education Department is very powerful in the world of higher education because it oversees federal student loans. The Labor Department oversees worker training, safety regulations, and rules on wages. [WSJ / Michelle Hackman and Eric Morath]
  • Before you get all up in arms, know that this is something the executive branch can’t just do on its own. Congress would have to sign off on it ... and it’s very unlikely to do so. [Vox / Libby Nelson]
  • In a more limited step, the administration may move over some workforce training programs from the Labor Department to the Education Department, like Job Corps and YouthBuild. [Education Week / Alyson Klein]
  • The president’s proposal has even gotten criticism from conservative and libertarian groups, who argue that the merger wouldn’t mean much if it wasn’t accompanied by drastic spending cuts to some programs. Education groups and unions are outraged at the idea. [Washington Post / Danielle Douglas-Gabriel]

South Sudan peace talks are not going well

  • Yet another attempt to stop a brutal civil war in South Sudan has ended in failure after the country’s President Salva Kiir refused to work with opposition leader (and his former vice president) Riek Machar. [Associated Press]
  • The two men both were in power when South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011. But since then, South Sudan has erupted into conflict of its own, primarily driven by ethnic disagreements. [Washington Post / Paul Schemm]
  • The toll has been devastating, with tens of thousands of people killed, millions more displaced, and the country descending into famine. [Al Jazeera]
  • The peace talks were brokered by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. But although Kiir and Machar met face to face, the president refused to let the rebel leader back into his government, ending any hope for an agreement. More talks are expected to continue. [Reuters]


  • Endangered European eels are far more hyperactive than usual. Blame errant drug users flushing cocaine into rivers. [The Guardian / Patrick Barkham]
  • Rapper Nicki Minaj shared her story of coming to the US as an illegal immigrant at age 5 as she spoke out against the Trump administration’s recent “zero tolerance” policy. [Teen Vogue / Zoe Weiner]
  • Just in time for summer cold season, here’s an ode to chalky, orange wonder powder Emergen-C. [The Cut / Katie Heaney]
  • Does your small town or large city not have enough money to fix road full of potholes and crumbling bridges? Never fear ... Domino’s is here. [CityLab / Andrew Zaleski]


“Thank God I’ve had a girlfriend of three years, because the last person I would want to be is a single Trump supporter dating in D.C. right now.”

[Unnamed former Trump White House aide to Politico / Daniel Lippman and Ben Schreckinger]

Watch this: It’s not you. Date labels on food make no sense.

Food labels don’t mean what you think they mean. [YouTube / Dean Peterson]

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