EdAction in Congress

EdAction in Congress September 19, 2021

President Biden’s plan to build back better advances in Congress

President Biden’s plan to build back better continues to gather momentum as House committees finalize key portions of the legislation and provisions to cover the cost. Democrats plan to advance the legislation via the budget reconciliation process, which requires a simple majority instead of the 60-vote supermajority usually needed in the Senate.

The bill taking shape includes NEA’s top legislative priorities: modernizing public school facilities, expanding access to free school meals, investing in educator recruitment and retention to help diversify the profession, and providing pathways to citizenship for Dreamers and other undocumented immigrants. The bill would also lower the cost of higher education with two years of free community college, increase and expand access to financial aid, beef up programs that help prepare students and workers for good jobs, and help close the digital divide and prevent a resurgence of the homework gap with additional funding for the Federal Communication Commission’s emergency connectivity fund. TAKE ACTION

To ensure sufficient revenue to make long-overdue investments in our communities and ensure the wealthiest among us pay their fair, NEA is urging Congress to take specific steps as part of the budget reconciliation package. They include raising corporate tax rates, the top individual tax rate, and cracking down on tax evasion. TAKE ACTION

Sept. 21 is immigration action day

One in five essential workers is an undocumented immigrant. On Tuesday, Sept. 21, thousands of immigrants and their allies will converge in Washington, DC, to demand that Congress recognize the contributions of immigrants by ensuring a path to citizenship NOW. People from across the country will gather at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) headquarters and march to the Capitol, where they will be joined by congressional champions to demand a path to citizenship for essential workers, farm workers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, and immigrant youth. Essential workers have been there for all of us, now we need to be there for them. TAKE ACTION

NEA leaders address key partners

At the 50th annual legislative conference of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, conducted virtually Sept. 12-17, NEA President Becky Pringle participated in the opening panel discussion, “Seeing the World Through Our Lens: Understanding the Student Perspective of 2021.” NEA also sponsored a second panel discussion, “Let’s talk about it: The importance of mental health in the Black Community.”

At the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s 2021 leadership conference, held virtually Sept. 20-23, NEA Secretary-Treasurer Noel Candelaria will be part of a panel on back to school. The session will spotlight creative strategies, programs, and resources that K–12 administrators are using to foster safe and effective learning environments for teachers, staff, students, and families as schools reopen this fall for in-person instruction.

Cheers and Jeers

Reps. Lori Trahan (D-MA), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), and Cheri Bustos (D-IL) reintroduced the Supporting Teachers with Residency Opportunities and New Grants (STRONG) Act (H.R. 5242) to alleviate the burden placed on educators over the past 18 months and strengthen the pipeline for America’s next generation of teachers.

Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) introduced the Eviction Prevention Act of 2021 to protect renters from eviction and curb the spread of COVID-19 by clarifying the authority of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to implement a residential eviction moratorium to address public health crises and directing HHS to implement a national residential eviction moratorium in response to COVID-19.

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