Key components of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus and relief package advanced this week as they passed out of these House committees: Education and Labor, Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Oversight and Reform. The next stop is the House floor the week of Feb. 22, and then the Senate. Democrats are pushing to pass the entire package by early to mid-March, when unemployment benefits again expire.
The package approved by House committees this week includes NEA’s top priorities: $170 billion in dedicated education funding to help advance the process of safely returning to in-person instruction at K-12 public school buildings, college campuses and universities; $350 billion in state and local aid to avoid further layoffs of educators and other essential public servants; and $7 billion to address an aspect of the digital divide known as the homework gap—the inability to do schoolwork at home due to lack of internet access—via the E-Rate program administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
NEA is also pushing to require all employers to provide paid sick leave for the duration of the pandemic. Sixty percent of U.S. workers do not have access to paid sick leave through their employers, including many education support professionals.
Urge Congress to pass the American Rescue Plan, with $170 billion to ensure safe and just schools for all students—from kindergarten to college.