In a mostly party-line vote of 214-207, the House passed an updated HEROES Act that includes a dramatic $225 increase in school funding, an additional $12 billion to help narrow the digital divide and close the homework gap, $436 billion in aid for states and localities, and $75 billion for coronavirus testing, tracing, and treatment. Discussions between Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the White House continue, but significant gaps remain.
The updated HEROES Act fulfills key NEA goals: at least $175 billion to stabilize education funding and provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for students and educators and at least $4 billion in emergency funding to close the homework gap during the pandemic. As many as 16 million students—roughly 1 in 3—are unable to do schoolwork at home due to lack of internet access and devices. A disproportionate share of those students are Black, Hispanic, Indigenous, and live in rural areas or low-income households. Additional relief for student loan borrowers is also among NEA’s top priorities.