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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Natow

Senate Republicans Release Bill for Coronavirus Relief; Higher Ed Groups Say it's Not Enough

Republicans in the Senate released their legislative proposal for the next Coronavirus relief package yesterday, which includes $29 billion for higher education. Inside Higher Education reports that this "is a figure American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten called 'woefully inadequate.' Colleges also could get part of another $5 billion for governors, who could also use the money on early childhood and K-12 education, 'based on the needs of the state.'"

Inside Higher Education also reports: "The $29 billion falls about $17 billion short of the $46.6 billion institutions had been asking for to ease the financial hit they have taken during the recession... Senator Lamar Alexander, the Republican chairman of the Senate education committee, acknowledged the proposal would likely change during negotiations with Democrats as Congress races to come to an agreement on a package by the end of the week."

My take: It's difficult to see how Democrats and Republicans will reach an agreement within a few days when their starting points are very far apart. And anything Senate Republicans will agree to is going to be a tough sell in the Democratically controlled House of Representatives. This Politico piece provides some background on the congressional negotiations, including the fact that the unemployment provisions of the first Coronavirus relief bill are set to expire this Friday, creating a sense of urgency for federal lawmakers to take some action this week. So this is going to be interesting... stay tuned!

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