Another COVID bill is in the works
NEA continues to work with Congress to highlight priorities for students, educators, public schools, and communities in additional COVID legislation now taking shape. Those priorities include immediate needs like funding as well as long-festering problems ranging from the homework gap to student loan debt. We are also urging lawmakers to see the current crisis for what it is: a wake-up call, not a passing storm. Like 9/11 and the Great Depression, the coronavirus crisis is destined to have a lasting impact on our way of life. Now is time to renew America’s promise of equal opportunity and justice for all. TAKE ACTION
As part of COVID relief, cancel student debt
In a letter led by NEA, more than 30 organizations urged congressional leaders to include student loan debt cancellation in any future COVID-19 relief package. Interest in the issue is sky-high—nearly 2,000 people logged on for an NEA webinar on the issue. The average educator begins a career with about $35,000 in student loan debt. The Student Debt Emergency Relief Act (H.R. 6363), introduced by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), would cancel at least $30,000 of outstanding student loan debt, boosting consumer spending and reducing the financial strain on educators and other borrowers. TAKE ACTION
Cheers and Jeers
Thirty-five senators signed a letter urging Senate leadership to include in future COVID-19 legislation “language that ensures proper training and protection for workers on the front lines”—ideally, by requiring the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard.
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) voiced support for a short-term increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in the next COVID-19 assistance package. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) have listed SNAP benefit increases as priorities for the next bill, as have many other Democrats.