Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are planning to propose adding more money for education aid for states in the next coronavirus relief package, a House Democratic aide told Inside Higher Ed.
Democratic lawmakers said they want to add more money for state and local governments, which face large budget shortfalls from the economic fallout from the pandemic. And Representative Bobby Scott, the Virginia Democrat who leads the education committee, said during a morning call with reporters that helping states is essential for preventing cuts to education, including higher education.
“If we don’t help states with their revenue estimates, they have to balance their budgets and -- to a large extent -- we believe it’s going to come at the expense of education, so we have to come up with state and local funding,” he said, but he didn’t mention giving higher education additional money beyond the $14 billion the CARES Act provided for higher education, which included emergency grants for students.
Democrats, who control the House, are working on their proposal for a new stimulus package, and it’s unclear if their proposal will include an amount anywhere close to the additional $46.6 billion in funding colleges and universities have said they need. Associations representing the industry also are pushing for the state aid to come with requirements to not cut state funding for higher education.
However, the aide said in a statement, “In addition to flexible state aid, House Democrats strongly believe that services like K-12 and higher education need dedicated funding. Just as in the CARES Act, we will provide dedicated education funding in addition to state and local fiscal relief.”