GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy to Democrats: Pelosi Subway or Students’ Mental Health?

February 26, 2021 Updated: February 27, 2021

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said his party is going to introduce a motion to recommit in order to force Democrats to go on record to show if they support $140 million from the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus relief package going to Nancy Pelosi subway or instead to “resources for kids who are suffering from school closures because of COVID.”

“I’d like to announce today House Republicans will be introducing a motion to recommit that will bolster the resources families can access to help their children cope with the emotional effects of school closures,” McCarthy said during a weekly press conference Friday. “To do that, our proposal would shift the first 100 million—and now the extra 40 million that was added overnight—that was allocated to Nancy Pelosi subway to grants that would be used for mental health for children.”

The motion to recommit is the last chance for the House to affect a piece of legislation before passage, either by amending the bill or sending it back to the committee.

According to a 2016 Congressional Research Service report, ‘The motion to recommit is often referred to as “the minority’s motion,” because preference in recognition for offering a motion to recommit is given to a member of the minority party who is opposed to the bill. The stated purpose of giving the minority party this right was to allow them to “have a vote upon its position upon great public questions.”’

“For many, it has been a year of spiraling into depression. According to Virginia Pediatrics Association, pediatricians have seen a 90 percent plus increase involving, depression, anxiety, and academic struggles,” said McCarthy. “Through most of 2020 pediatric emergency admissions for the mental problems like panic and anxiety was up by 24 percent for young children, and 31 percent for adolescents.”

McCarthy said in his own California district, current behavioral health data shows that since the pandemic started, there has seen an increase in calls about students who are suicidal.

The city of San Francisco in February asked a judge to order the immediate reopening of schools for in-person learning, saying the continued closure violates children’s constitutional right to attend and is contributing to a mental health crisis.

Public schools in the California city have been shut down for in-person learning for nearly a year despite being allowed to resume such classes since fall 2020 and officials say those in the education arena lack a viable reopening plan.

The continued closure is “catalyzing a mental health crisis among school-aged children,” asserts an emergency motion filed by City Attorney Dennis Herrera, quoting Dr. Jeanne Noble, director of COVID Response for the UCSF Emergency Department.

In attached declarations, doctors attest to a significant increase in children of all ages showing up at hospitals and other health facilities with anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

On Feb. 12, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) stated that reopening schools as soon as possible is a priority.

“It is critical for schools to open as safely and as soon as possible, and remain open, to achieve the benefits of in-person learning and key support services,” the CDC said in a statement.

During an interview with CBS’s “Face The Nation” on Feb. 12, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky was asked about the long-term mental health impact of school closures, to which she emphasized the importance of school reopening as soon as possible.

“We are absolutely worried about all of the collateral damage that we are going to see, not just mental health—of course, mental health, but not just mental health,” Walensky said. “Loss of educational milestones, food insecurity that has happened with our schools being closed, which is why we were really prescriptive with this guidance to- to provide states and localities with the information that they need so that they can open safely. It’s really a road map to really try and get those schools back open.”

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.