Legislative Affairs

COVID-6 Relief Package Updates

  • 1.  COVID-6 Relief Package Updates

    Posted 02-02-2021 10:25

    Last month, President Biden announced a proposal for a sixth COVID-relief package that would total $1.9 trillion. Among other provisions, the proposal would allocate $160 billion for funding a nationwide vaccination program, expand testing, create a public health jobs program, and take other measures to address the pandemic. It would extend unemployment benefits to $400/week through September and allow for 14 weeks of COVID-related paid leave (however state/local governments would be eligible for a refundable tax credit). It would allocate $40 billion for childcare development grants and $130 billion to help K-12 schools reopen as well as $350 billion in aid for state and local governments. The proposal would include stimulus checks for Americans-$1,400/person maximum, with some caveats based on several factors.

    This week, Senate Republicans released a counter proposal for a sixth COVID-relief measure, which would total $618 billion. The proposal would allocate $160 billion to direct COVID-related pandemic response efforts to scale up vaccine distribution, testing, disaster relief, PPE distribution to health care workers, among other items. It would extend unemployment insurance (UI) benefits at $300/week through June 30 for all states; allocate $20 billion for childcare programs and $20 billion to help K-12 schools reopen. The proposal also would include stimulus checks for Americans-$1,000/person; this amount would begin phasing out for single tax filers at $40k/year (with a $50k cap) and joint filers at $80k/year (with a $100k cap); $500 would be allocated for dependent adults and children. President Biden met with a group of GOP senators to discuss the proposed package yesterday, however no immediate deal was brokered from those discussions.

    In the meantime, House and Senate Democrats are moving forward with another method to pass a partisan COVID-relief package (aligned with Biden's plan but may not be exactly the same) in the event a bipartisan bill is not attainable. This method, known as "budget reconciliation," is a fast-tracked method to pass legislation that must meet specific spending requirements but can bypass a filibuster and only require 50 votes to pass. This process was used unsuccessfully by Republicans in 2016 and 2017 to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and again (successfully) for tax reform in 2018 (which became the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act under President Trump). With a Democrat majority in the House and split in the Senate (with Vice President Harris able to cast the tie-breaking vote), it would be possible for Democrats to pass a budget reconciliation package that includes COVID-relief provisions without requiring Republican votes. Learn more about how this process could come into play here.

    Please stay tuned to this thread for updates on the next COVID-relief package and what's in store for K-12 education and schools as we learn more information.



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    ASBO USA
    asbousa@asbointl.org
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  • 2.  RE: COVID-6 Relief Package Updates

    Posted 02-02-2021 15:19
    Edited by ASBO USA 02-02-2021 16:02

    Those who want more information on what Democrats are considering for COVID-19 relief and other legislative priorities (as they move forward on their budget reconciliation process) can read this press release about a budget resolution filed by Rep. Pelosi and Sen. Schumer yesterday. The resolution instructs Congressional committees to begin crafting legislation to enact President Biden's COVID-19 response plan, which is the first step needed to begin reconciliation.

    Some highlights include instructions for committees to:

    • Provide "immediate relief for individuals and families throughout 2021 including $1,400 per-person and per-child direct payments, an extension of Unemployment Insurance programs through September 2021 with a $400/week federal enhancement and $350 billion in critical state, local, Tribal and territorial fiscal relief" as well as "funds to greatly increase health care coverage to Americans that have lost it through no fault of their own during the pandemic."
    • Provide "funding to help defeat the coronavirus including through support for vaccines, testing and public health programs" as well as "funding to help K-12 schools safely re-open and provides crucial support for the child care system."
    • Provide "funding for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund to ramp up the President's national vaccination program and provide flexible, targeted assistance to state, local, Tribal, territorial and the District of Columbia governments, as well as those individuals hit hardest by the pandemic."
    • Provide "support for hungry families through programs like SNAP, WIC and Pandemic-EBT" and other critical funding to support the food supply chain and farmers across the country.


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    ASBO USA
    asbousa@asbointl.org
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  • 3.  RE: COVID-6 Relief Package Updates

    Posted 02-02-2021 20:29
    Thank you for the update.

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    Derick Sibley SFO
    Director of Finance/CFO
    Pleasant Grove Independent School District
    dsibley@pgisd.net
    Texarkana, TX
    United States
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  • 4.  RE: COVID-6 Relief Package Updates

    Posted 02-18-2021 17:24
    Edited by ASBO USA 02-18-2021 17:24

    In early February, President Biden released a detailed $145 billion estimate of how much it will cost to help schools reopen to justify to Congress why additional federal COVID-relief for K-12 education is needed. As AASA notes in their blog, this document is an improvement upon Biden's original $130 billion proposal to support K-12 education that he shared in January. We are pleased to see that Biden's new estimate is based on CDC data as well as ASBO International's and AASA's COVID-19 cost analysis infographic (access the administration's full estimate here.)

    Meanwhile, FutureEd reports that the House Budget Committee will meet next week "to consider a $1.9 trillion stimulus package proposed by President Joe Biden that would dedicate an additional $170 billion for K-12 schools and higher education, as well as spending billions more to prop up the state and local governments that are critical to funding education." The package would implement President Biden's "American Rescue Plan" to address the COVID-19 pandemic and is comprised of several bills marked up by several Congressional committees from the past few weeks. The draft legislation would provide $170 billion for K-12 and higher education and other dedicated funding for state and local governments, among other provisions. Once the package is amended by and clears the House, it must undergo scrutiny in the Senate to ensure it meets unique requirements to continue to be fast-tracked through Congress (and bypass the need for Republican support). Only after the House and Senate resolve differences on amendments to the package will it be sent to the president for signature. (For more information on how this "budget reconciliation" process works, visit here.)

    Democrats hope to pass a final reconciliation package before the end of February, but negotiations could drag on, especially considering ongoing debates about whether the package will include a controversial $15/hour minimum wage provision. Disagreements may hold the process up, making mid-March a more likely deadline for passage. In the meantime, ASBO International will continue advocating on members' behalf to help districts get the resources they need to safely reopen schools. School business professionals can help advocate for additional K-12 financial aid by completing ASBO International's COVID-19 Financial Impact Survey, which closes on Friday, February 19.  



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    ASBO USA
    asbousa@asbointl.org
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  • 5.  RE: COVID-6 Relief Package Updates

    Posted 03-08-2021 18:26
    Edited by ASBO USA 03-08-2021 18:27
      |   view attached
    Over the weekend, Senate Democrats passed their version of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) budget reconciliation bill, after a long round of debates and amendments, bringing lawmakers one step closer to passing a sixth COVID-relief package.

    The Senate version provides almost $170 billion for Department of Education (ED) programs, $850 million for Bureau of Indian Education programs, and $7.2 billion for a new emergency education connectivity fund via the federal E-Rate program to help districts purchase digital devices, Wi-Fi hotspots, and other items to improve student connectivity and broadband access (aka "homework gap") issues, in addition to funding for other education and child care programs. There are still some differences between the Senate and House versions of the American Rescue Plan reconciliation bills that need to be ironed out through a conference process before the final bill is signed by the President into law.

    For those who would like to learn about some of the key differences between the House and Senate reconciliation legislation, please see attached a table from the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) which compares the following legislation (from right to left, oldest to newest legislation):

    • The CARES Act (enacted into law 3/27/2020)
    • The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act or "CARES 2.0" (enacted into law 12/27/2020)
    • House & Senate Budget Reconciliation Bills
      • The House committee reconciliation bill (passed 2/11/21)
      • Senate reconciliation bill (draft on 3/3/21)
      • Senate reconciliation bill (American Rescue Plan passed by the Senate on 3/6/21 that will go to conference with the House bill)


    The table compares policy provisions for state and local government aid/relief; education stabilization fund (ESF) GEER, ESSER, and HEER funding for governors, K-12 education, and higher education; miscellaneous higher education funding outside of the ESF; internet broadband and "homework gap" funding as well as other K-12 provisions; Head Start; and other programs.

    Highlights of what's included in the recent Senate reconciliation bill (the 3/6/21 version) that must be reconciled with the House version:

    • State/local aid: $362.05 billion
    • Education Stabilization Fund (ESF): $166.8 billion for education total. Of that, $122.8 billion for K-12 education (ESSER Fund), and $2.75 billion for non-public K-12 schools; $39.6 billion for higher education; $1.7 billion for outlying areas/Bureau of Indian Education.
      • Note: The House had $169.8 billion for the ESF ($128.6 billion for K-12 education).
      • Note: The Senate draft from March 3 had $169.8 billion for the ESF ($125.8 billion for K-12 education, and $2.75 billion for non-public K-12 schools).
    • Other K-12 Education Provisions: $3.0 billion extra for IDEA/special education; $7.17 billion for the new E-Rate emergency education connectivity fund; and $190 million for American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native Education; among other items. 
      • Note: The House had $7.5 billion for E-Rate's emergency education connectivity fund
      • Note: The Senate draft from March 3 had $7.17 billion for E-Rate's emergency education connectivity fund 
    • Head Start: $1 billion

    The House is likely to vote on the Senate's bill Wednesday, putting President Biden on track to sign the package this week. Please stay tuned to this thread for further updates as we learn more information.

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    ASBO USA
    asbousa@asbointl.org
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  • 6.  RE: COVID-6 Relief Package Updates

    Posted 03-10-2021 11:20
      |   view attached
    This morning, the House is voting on the final version (Senate 3/6/21 amended version) of the American Rescue Plan Act. If it passes, the bill will go to President Biden for signature today.

    In the meantime, please find attached a Congressional report outlining how much funding states should expect to receive through the Education Stabilization Fund, for the ESSER (K-12 education), HEER (higher education), and EANS (emergency assistance for non-public schools) programs. Please stay tuned for further updates as the sixth COVID-relief bill makes its way through Congress.

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    ASBO USA
    asbousa@asbointl.org
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  • 7.  RE: COVID-6 Relief Package Updates

    Posted 03-10-2021 17:41
    The Senate 3/6/21 version of the American Rescue Plan Act was passed by the House this afternoon, by a vote of 220 to 211. The final bill will be officially signed into law by President Biden on Friday.
    • A quick summary of what is included in the $1.9 trillion package along with state-by-state estimates of funding for various programs in the package can be found here: https://www.democrats.senate.gov/arp 
    • A title-by-title summary of the package is available here: https://www.democrats.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/ARP%20-%20Title-by-Title%20Summary.pdf
      • (Note that the most relevant sections to look at are Title I - Nutrition; Title II - Education; Title IV - FEMA; Title VII - Internet/Broadband/E-Rate; and Title IX - Stimulus checks, unemployment provisions, state/local aid, payroll/tax issues; and Title XI - ED's Bureau of Indian Education)


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    ASBO USA
    asbousa@asbointl.org
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  • 8.  RE: COVID-6 Relief Package Updates

    Posted 03-15-2021 17:52
    Please read our newest ASBO legislative blog, "What's In the American Rescue Plan for K-12 Education & Schools?" for a summary of K-12 education provisions in the sixth COVID-relief stimulus package, which was passed into law last week.

    We hope this information is helpful as school business professionals plan how to use incoming federal emergency relief funds to support their district's and students' needs.

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    ASBO USA
    asbousa@asbointl.org
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