Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called on her Democratic Colleagues to highlight the provisions in the Heroes Act, by holding events in their districts to will provide communities the opportunity to voice their concerns about how the pandemic has impacted children.
“I am calling for a ‘Day of Action For The Children’ on Wednesday, September 2. As students return to school, I encourage Members to hold virtual events in their districts,” Pelosi said in a written statement Tuesday, “to shine a light on the urgency of Senate passage of The Heroes Act.”
Pelosi criticized Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for suggesting that children should go back to their school buildings for in-person learning in the fall.
“At the same time, the Secretary of Education’s statement that children should be risk-takers, saying ‘risk is involved in everything we do, from learning to ride a bike to riding a rocket into space and everything in between,’ is appalling in its callousness,” Pelosi said in a written statement.
The Democrats and Republicans have not been able to reach an agreement on the next pandemic relief legislation. Both sides blaming the other for being inflexible and having the wrong priorities.
“The Heroes Act achieves all of these critical goals ‘For The Children’ and more. Yet, Republicans have fallen short. They have refused to recognize the true needs of the American people during the pandemic and the accompanying economic crisis,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi and Democrats have said they want much more testing and treatment for the virus before they deem it safe enough to allow children back to school for face-to-face learning and that their legislation will provide the funding for such testing.
“‘For The Children,’ we must crush the virus with testing, tracing, and treatment. We must have robust support for state and local governments that fund education, have strong workplace protections so that teachers and children are safe, have strong funding for nutrition initiatives to feed hungry children, and have rental assistance so that families and children do not become homeless,” Pelosi continued.
After reaching a stalemate, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) spoke from the Senate floor on Aug. 13, where he criticized Democrats for blocking pandemic relief over unrelated “liberal demands.”
During his floor speech, McConnell said the Republicans’ priority is to fund testing for the safe reopening of schools and provide liability protection for businesses.
“We want another round of direct payments for American families. We want to send $105 billion to help schools and universities safely reopen and billions more to help working parents with child care,” said McConnell.
“(The speaker thinks) it is some heroic sacrifice to lower demand for a made-up three and a half-trillion-dollar marker that was never going to become law to an equally made up two and a half-trillion-dollar marker—She calls this meeting in the middle?” McConnell added.
Pelosi has criticized Republicans for not prioritizing working families and has called their legislation inadequate.