Sunday, January 17, 2021

EdAction in Congress January 17, 2021 - Education Votes

EdAction in Congress January 17, 2021 - Education Votes
EdAction in Congress January 17, 2021

Biden Pledges Critical Investments in Public Education to Combat COVID-19 Crisis

President-elect Joe Biden unveiled an ambitious plan on Thursday to help the nation emerge from the economic and public health wreckage that has devastated millions of lives across the country. He called on Congress to provide the necessary investments to help reopen schools safely, save educator jobs and attack the crippling inequities the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated.

These proposals are key components of the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion emergency legislative package. Biden delivered the speech one day after the United States reported 4,320 COVID-19 fatalities – the highest daily toll yet. “The crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight and there’s no time to waste,” Biden said. “We have to act and we have to act now.”

The plan has three primary goals: a national vaccination plan that will contain the virus, deliver emergency relief to working families and support communities hardest hit by the crisis. Read more

House impeaches Trump; no Senate trial until after the inauguration

On a bipartisan vote of 232-197—every Democrat and 10 Republicans—the House impeached Donald Trump for inciting the violent insurrection against the U.S. Capitol that cost five people their lives. He is the third president to be impeached in the 244-year history of the United States, and the only one to be impeached twice.

“NEA members teach students about the beauty and power of our Constitution and democracy every day, and they know that our students are watching what you do now,” NEA President Becky Pringle said in a letter urging representatives to vote to impeach Trump.

Without evidence, the insurrectionists claimed the election had been corrupted in key battleground states, especially urban areas with large populations of people of color. They sought to throw out the results in those states, and then have the House anoint Trump winner of the election he clearly lost. It wasn’t even close—Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the popular vote by 7 million and the Electoral College by the same margin as Trump in 2016.

State and federal judges appointed by both political parties dismissed dozens of lawsuits challenging the outcome of the election. Their opinions often seethed with anger over frivolous claims, error-ridden documents, and the blatant lies promulgated by Trump and enablers that included far-right extremists, armed militias aiming to overthrow the U.S. government, and conspiracy mongers like QAnon. The Supreme Court refused even to grant a hearing.

“There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,” said Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third most powerful Republican member of the House.

Many of those who voted against impeaching Trump voted against certifying the victory of Biden and Harris after joining lawsuits to overturn the election and disenfranchise their constituents. Publicly, they said they opposed impeachment because it would further divide the nation. Privately, many admitted the real reason was fear of retaliation against themselves, their families, and their staffs.

The next step, a trial in the Senate, won’t take place until after Jan. 20, when Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States.

Educators urge Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Last week, NEA Aspiring Educators across the country engaged in different actions each day to demand that Black Lives Matter in our schools and communities. On Wednesday, Jan. 13, the focus was the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. The House passed the bill in 2020 but it must be reintroduced in the 117th Congress sworn in Jan. 3, 2021.

The act is a first step to enacting meaningful reforms to end police brutality and restore faith in law enforcement agencies. Specifically, it prohibits discriminatory profiling, bans chokeholds, and requires federal and state police to use body cameras—important steps to help ensure police officers treat EVERYONE with dignity and respect. 

Cheers and Jeers

The 232 Democrats who voted to impeach Donald Trump and the 10 Republicans who joined them: Reps. Liz Cheney (WY), Anthony Gonzalez (OH), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA), John Katko (NY), Adam Kinzinger (IL), Peter Meijer (MI), Dan Newhouse (WA), Tom Rice (SC), Fred Upton (MI), and David Valadao (CA). 

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) reintroduced the Census Improving Data and Enhanced Accuracy (Census IDEA) Act (S. 358) to ensure that untested and last-minute changes to the decennial census do not impact its accuracy.

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) reintroduced the Public Service Appreciation Through Forgiveness Act (H.R. 251), which would allow employees who enter public service to be eligible for increased student loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

197 Republicans who voted NOT to impeach Donald Trump.