EdAction in Congress

EdAction in Congress May 31, 2020

McConnell still stalling on fiscal aid while 40 million are jobless

The coronavirus has killed more than 100,000 Americans and left more than 40 million jobless—roughly a quarter of the U.S. workforce, the level at the height of the Great Depression. But that’s no reason for Congress to act anytime soon, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “I think about a month from now we’ll take a look at how things are going and be able to make a more intelligent decision,” he said. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) responded, “We need a pause? Tell that to the virus.”

The longer Congress delays, the greater the likelihood we’ll see a repeat of the Great Recession a decade ago, during which financially strapped state and local governments cut essential student services and laid off tens of thousands of educators. This time, the damage could be even worse. NEA supports the HEROES Act passed by the House, which would provide $915 billion in direct relief for state and local governments that can be used pay educators and other vital workers. The bill also provides $90 billion to stabilize education funding, takes steps to narrow the digital divide and close the homework gap, and recognizes the pressing need for PPE for educators. TAKE ACTION


Despite COVID-19 educators risk their lives for students, ESP of the Year says

In Kentucky alone, two ESPs, both bus drivers, have passed away since school buildings closed. In North Carolina, three others have passed away from the virus. “I hate that it took a dedicated member’s life to open others’ eyes,” said Matthew Powell, NEA’s 2019 ESP of the Year. “When you have stories about ESPs still fighting for our students, risking their own lives to meet the needs of every child, that really sticks out.”

Educators know it will take ongoing advocacy to secure personal protective equipment (PPE) and implement other safety measures that meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) standards for teachers and support professionals, whose duties vary widely. NEA is seeking directed funding for PPE for educators, including—and especially—the support professionals who continue to prepare and distribute meals; clean, maintain, and secure school buildings; oversee technology needs; and perform other vital work during the coronavirus pandemic. TAKE ACTION


Cheers and Jeers

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA)honored NEA Aspiring Educators by filming a video celebrating their “graduation.”

Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) released a comprehensive report on the GOP’s push to confirm far-right judges chosen not for their qualifications or experience, but for their allegiance to political goals.

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