September 4, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTONRepresentatives Ted Lieu (CA-33), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) and Harley Rouda (CA-48) hosted a press call for regional reporters today demanding the Senate act to support local schools and provide the resources they need to keep students safe and protect against potentially devastating cuts to state education budgets. The House passed funding to support local schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic more than 100 days ago. But the Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to act.

On today’s call the Members demanded the Senate work with the House to provide the funding experts say is needed to: safely reopen schools; make sure state and local governments can pay teachers; crush the virus with testing, tracing and treatment; and keep kids from going hungry and prevent their families from losing their homes.

Without that support, many schools across the country cannot afford to take necessary safety measures.

  • For example, according to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, 4 in 10 districts need to update or replace HVAC systems in at least half of their school buildings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) school reopening guidance lists proper ventilation as a key consideration for schools seeking to reopen safely. 

Additionally, COVID-19 has devastated state and local budgets across the country, threatening possible cuts to schools that could harm their ability to educate children.

  • Without the Heroes Act, budget shortfalls are projected to reach nearly $500 billion for state governments alone. By July, 900,000 public school employees had already lost their jobs, and the American Federation of Teachers issued a report projecting over 1.4 million public school employee layoffs without federal action. 

"Schools need more resources and support to reopen safely," said Rep. Lieu. "Instead, we're seeing outrageous accounts of teachers being forced to use their own savings to buy personal protective equipment for themselves and their students. Democrats have been fighting for $300 billion to safely reopen our schools and maintain services for students.The Senate and the President, however, refuse to act, which jeopardizes the health of our children, teachers and communities."

“This is an unprecedented time for our entire country and for families in California’s 13th District. We are in the middle of a terrible public health crisis and the worst economic collapse of our lifetimes, which has only worsened the inequality in our education system,” said Rep. Lee. “Instead of joining with us to provide funding for schools in every state, the administration is threatening to take money away from schools that are not able to safely bring students back, putting millions of students and families in harm’s way. The Senate must act and pass the Heroes Act to keep our communities safe.”