Legislative Affairs

Leg Update: COVID-4 Stimulus Bill, Recession Impact, & Approps.

  • 1.  Leg Update: COVID-4 Stimulus Bill, Recession Impact, & Approps.

    Posted 05-01-2020 07:36

    ASBO International received the following information from the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), of which we are a coalition member, regarding ongoing discussions about the next COVID-19 stimulus package, known as phase four, or the "COVID-4" bill.

    • Congressional outlook for action – The Senate will be back in session next week but the House changed its plan to resume in-person work and will not reconvene in Washington until later, although it plans for committees to restart hearings and oversight actions. Leaders in both chambers are discussing priorities for another coronavirus relief package but the Administration, Senate Republicans, and House Democrats do not agree on all that they want to include. Some of the contentious items already under discussion that could involve funding for education include:

      • Aid to state and local governments – Substantial support to back-fill revenue shortfalls to state and local governments could help support education. The President initially had said he supported such relief but this week said it shouldn't go to sanctuary cities that do not help the federal government enforce immigration restrictions. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said earlier that instead of getting federal aid states should declare bankruptcy; he has since also said that any aid should be linked to waiving liability for employers as businesses reopen. The National Governors Association and Democratic congressional leaders have discussed the need for more than $500 billion in aid for states, and localities have asked for another $250 billion. House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) will soon be unveiling a revenue-sharing plan possibly based on one that existed in the 1970s and early 1980s that provided population-based grants. It could use a formula similar to the one for Community Development Block Grants. Unrestricted aid to states and localities would help fill budget shortfalls that could dramatically impact public education funding at all levels.

      • Infrastructure – Leader McConnell has said he does not want infrastructure funding included in a pandemic response bill, but Administration and Democratic leaders see this type of investment as a spur to the economy. There has been an ongoing push to get school infrastructure and broadband funding into any such proposal (ASBO International is working with other education groups on this push). Federal funding for school modernization or education technology could help replace the need for those costs to be borne solely by state and local budgets, freeing up funding for other education needs, while also paying for construction workers in the near term.

    CEF also noted the following:

    • Recession could cut almost 320,000 teaching positions – The Learning Policy Institute (LPI) published a blog projecting the possible loss of almost 320,000 teaching positions due to the pandemic's impact on education revenues. LPI outlines the history of education job losses in the 2008 recession and, based on economic projections of cuts to education budgets of at least 10% this year and more than 20% next year, estimates possible teaching job losses by state. Assuming a 15% cut to states' education budgets and that their current education spending patterns continue, almost 320,000 teaching positions would be lost, with a handful of states losing close to 20% of existing teaching positions. The estimates provide very sobering examples of why additional federal education relief is so important.

    • House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on COVID-19 Response next week – On Wednesday, May 6, at 10am the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee will be holding a hearing on COVID-19 Response. The hearing will be webcast here.

    Please stay tuned to the Legislative Affairs Community for more updates on legislative/policy issues impacting K-12 education, including the next COVID-19 relief package and federal FY21 education funding.

    blank placeholder