EdAction in Congress

EdAction in Congress November 14, 2021

Build Back Better Act heads for House floor

The Build Back Better Act is heading for the floor this week, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). “That is our plan to pass the bill the week of November 15,” she said at a news conference during the United Nations Climate Chance Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. The bill would be the biggest investment in the American people, the backbone of our nation’s infrastructure, since the 1960s—a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a real difference in the daily lives of students, educators, and families. It will be paid for by ensuring corporations and the wealthiest Americans pay a fairer share of taxes.

The Build Back Better Act’s historic investments include universal preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds; more affordable child care and college; expanded access to free school meals; extending the child tax credit that has cut child poverty in half; and more resources for educator recruitment and retention, HBCUs, other minority-serving institutions, and the E-Rate program. It would also make the single largest investment in affordable housing in U.S. history; extend Medicaid coverage to 4 million more people; strengthen the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); add hearing coverage to Medicare; lower the cost of some prescription drugs; and provide temporary protection and employment authorization for an estimated 7 million undocumented immigrants. TAKE ACTION

NEA continues to push for federal voting rights protections

NEA President Becky Pringle stressed the need to pass federal voting rights legislation at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s second National Racial Equity Initiative for Social Justice Summit, held virtually earlier this month. This year alone, 19 states have enacted 33 laws that will make it harder for Americans to vote, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. We cannot allow Senate rules and procedures to block critical legislation voting rights legislation.

The Freedom to Vote Act (S. 2747) shaped by Sen. Joe Machin (D-WV) and a group of moderate Democrats would make Election Day a national holiday and set federal standards for early and mail-in voting, among other things. The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4) would reverse dangerous, undemocratic trends flowing from Supreme Court rulings: Shelby v. Holder, decided in 2013, which invalidated the crucial “preclearance” provision of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act and Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, decided just a few months ago, which further weakened the law. TAKE ACTION

Cheers and Jeers 

Republican Reps. Don Bacon (NE), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), Andrew Gabarino (NY), Anthony Gonzalez (OH), John Katko (NY), Adam Kinzinger (IL), Nicole Malliotakis (NY), David McKinley (WV), Tom Reed (NY), Chris Smith (NJ), Fred Upton (MI), Jeff Van Drew (NJ), and Don Young (AK) voted for the bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Act.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) ensured that the bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Act reauthorizes the Secure Rural Schools Program and eliminates the 5 percent annual reduction in the payments.

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