The House Budget Committee has pulled together committee-approved components of President Biden’s COVID-19 package, creating a single bill that will come to the House floor this week; action could continue through the weekend. The Senate plans to take up the House-passed bill the week of March 1. Democrats are pushing to enact the legislation before March 14, when unemployment benefits for more than 11 million workers begin to expire.
The current House bill 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 $210 billion to ensure safe and just schools for all students—from kindergarten to college.