From Your Lobbyist: Cardona, COVID relief, CLEAN future.
March 5, 2021
Week of Mar 1-5
This Week’s Events:
- Secretary Cardona Confirmed: Miguel Cardona was confirmed to be the new Secretary of Education by the Senate this week on a bipartisan vote of 64-33. Most members of Congress trust that Miguel Cardona will be a positive leader in the education arena at a time when both K-12 and higher education have been severely disrupted amidst the pandemic. First things first–as per Cardona–he wants to reopen schools, ensure educators are vaccinated, and ensure a normal return to schools and campuses across the country as soon as possible. AYA is pleased with his confirmation and is grateful for a Secretary that has committed publicly to advocating for young people, protecting student borrowers, and ensuring multiple pathways to the workforce.
- American Rescue Plan Advances to Senate: Early Saturday morning, the House passed its version of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which, if passed into law, would include stimulus checks, expansion of pandemic relief programs, tax credits for employers that offer paid leave and $170 billion in education funding for k-12 and higher education. The $40 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund provides direct grants to institutions of higher ed to deal with the impacts of COVID-19 and to offer direct aid to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus. The Senate is expected to release its own version of the American Rescue Plan by week’s end, which would also include $40 billion in funding for higher education. The House and Senate are expected to work over the next week to resolve differences between the two bills and send President Biden a bill for signature into law by next week.
Policies We’re Advocating For:
- CLEAN Future Act: On March 2nd, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee Chairman Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Energy Subcommittee Chairman Bobby L. Rush (D-IL) introduced the Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation’s (CLEAN) Future Act, which would aim to “achieve net zero greenhouse gas pollution no later than 2050, with an interim target of reducing pollution by 50 percent from 2005 levels no later than 2030.” The legislation would decarbonize each sector of the U.S. economy to achieve a net zero impact. Given its strong focus on cleaner jobs, cleaner futures, and a focus on environmental justice, AYA strongly supports this bill and will be advocating for its passage into law during the 117th Congress.