The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Staci Maiers, NEA Communications,

House Dems Introduce COVID-19 Relief Bill for America's Students, Educators

Nation’s largest union calls on McConnell, White House to step up.


Democrats in the House of Representatives today introduced an updated Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act or "HEROES Act," which would provide more than $225 billion for education. The National Education Association -- the nation's largest union representing more than 3 million educators, public service employees and healthcare workers -- has been advocating Congress to pass real relief for America's students and their working families since the pandemic and economic collapse hit.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Becky Pringle:

"We applaud House Democrats who again introduced a plan that prioritizes the nation's students, educators, schools and campuses in the continued fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill takes a major step toward providing public schools and colleges with the tools and resources they need to reopen buildings and campuses safely and equitably, and to help ensure that students who are still learning remotely for health and safety reasons have what they need to do so.

"The coronavirus pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the inequities facing our most vulnerable students. These inequities -- particularly for Black, brown, indigenous communities and those students living in poverty -- are being brought to bear right now. More than 16 million students can't participate in tele-learning because they don't have the broadband internet and technology they need. The updated HEROES Act would help bridge the Digital Divide and growing 'homework gap' facing students of color and lower-income families by providing $12 billion to the proven E-Rate program.

"This is the second time House Democrats, led by Speaker Pelosi, have stepped up with a health and economic plan that meets the nation's needs, and stands in stark contrast to the months of time wasted by Mitch McConnell who hit the pause button while the pandemic continued to rage. This bill also rightly ignores the numerous poison pills and Betsy DeVos-privatization giveaways that McConnell added to his sham bill a few weeks ago.

"House Democrats have again stepped up. Will McConnell and the White House ever do the same?"

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education--from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.

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