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Republican Coronavirus Proposal Not Enough, Associations Say

September 10, 2020

As Congress continues to be gridlocked over another coronavirus relief package, Senator Lamar Alexander on Wednesday urged Democrats to support the limited proposal being pushed by Senate Republicans, saying it would include $105 billion in aid for education.

But associations representing the nation’s colleges and universities said the proposal, which includes $29 billion for higher education, is not enough. And presidents of research institutions, who have seen their work disrupted by the pandemic, told a House subcommittee they need more federal aid.

The Senate is expected to vote today on the Republicans’ roughly $500 billion targeted proposal. However, it is not expected to garner the necessary 60 votes to keep Democrats from blocking it and is considered an opening bid in the negotiations over a new relief package.

In comparison, Democrats are pushing for a $3 trillion package, which would include $37 billion for higher education. The American Council on Education, however, is seeking $46.6 billion in aid, which does not include another $74 billion the group estimates as the cost of reopening colleges and universities this fall.

Neither the Democrats’ proposal nor the Republicans’ “stripped-down” bill, is enough, said Terry Hartle, ACE’s senior vice president for government relations.

With the gulf between Democrats and Republicans measured in trillions of dollars, Hartle said it’s urgent for the sides to quickly find a compromise. “Students and campuses -- like millions of other Americans -- are facing serious financial challenges, and we need the government to move forward quickly with a generous package. And we need this not at some unspecified future date, but right now,” he said.

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