Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the ranking member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee introduced a comprehensive bill to provide education funding in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The bill provides increased funding across-the-board, addressing child care, K-12 education, higher education, and workforce development.

The Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act would provide $430 billion to education. In her press release, Murray urged Republicans to “act on bold Covid-19 relief.”

Murray included her Child Care Is Essential Act in the legislative package, which would provide $50 billion to child care providers across the county. The standalone bill is led by Senators Murray, Smith, Warren, Casey, and Gillibrand. According to the Center for American Progress, the coronavirus pandemic could lead to the permanent loss of nearly 4.5 million child care slots.

Senator Murray would also invest $1.5 billion through the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. While child abuse calls might be down across the country, that doesn’t mean abuse itself is down. Many experts and doctors are seeing an increase in the most severe cases of child abuse. That’s likely because students are out of school so educators aren’t reporting the cases that don’t require immediate medical attention.

The Washington Senator also proposed putting $345 billion into the Education Stabilization Fund created under the CARES Act. This money would be divided between K-12 education and higher education, with a portion going to governors for both.

Elementary and secondary education would receive $175 billion for state agencies and school districts. This proposal is similar to the recent proposal from Senate Democrats who called on Republicans to fund K-12 education. Murray’s bill also pushes back on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, saying she wrongly interpreted the CARES Act when she sent money to private schools regardless of students’ income.

Murray’s legislation would include over $132 billion for higher education, both for students and for institutions. Like the CARES Act, it would provide for emergency grants for students, but it would override DeVos’s effort to deny undocumented students from receiving the aid. And this time, for-profit colleges wouldn’t get money for themselves. They would only be a pass through to provide emergency grant aid to students. 

Just under 10% of the money—$33 billion—would be allocated to the governors to spend on those education programs impacted by Covid-19. Governors could also use this money for early childhood education if needed. And the bill would include a maintenance of effort requirement to ensure states keep up with funding for K-12 and higher education.

Murray also included important investments for community colleges, adult education, career and technical education, and more. Her proposal would provide nearly $12 billion for the Individuals with Disability Education Act and she also invests in the TRIO program and other educational programs.

Senator Murray and other Democrats have been waiting for Senate Republicans to act to address the continued effects of the pandemic. The House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act but the Senate has done nothing. 

“Democrats are laying out a path to save millions of child care slots, nearly two million education jobs, and keep this pandemic from widening disparities that already harm students of color disproportionately—because we believe doing so is essential if we hope to come back from this difficult time stronger,” said Murray. “I hope Republicans agree.”


Related Readings:

DeVos Blocks DACA Students From Coronavirus Emergency Grant Aid

Democrats Want $175 Billion Stimulus For Schools

Pelosi Proposes $1,200 Stimulus Checks, $10,000 Student Loan Forgiveness, And Money For Colleges

What The Coronavirus Stimulus Means For Your Student Loans


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