Trump signs CR to fund federal agencies through Dec. 11; House approves revised HEROES Act

The continuing resolution will fund education department programs and adds $8 billion to extend and expand child nutrition programs
By: | October 1, 2020
Photo by Harold Mendoza on Unsplash.

The Senate passed and President Trump signed a short-term continuing resolution, H.R. 8337, that will provide funding for federal agencies, including the Education Department, through Dec. 11, averting a federal shutdown on Oct. 1.

The CR will flat-fund Education Department programs at the same level of spending approved for FY 2020. It also includes an $8 billion boost and other provisions to extend and expand child nutrition program funding.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said he was “glad the bill includes nearly $8 billion for child nutrition programs, especially the extension of the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Program that provides millions of children with additional monthly benefits for food purchases while schools are closed.”

The House and Senate have yet to finish work on FY 2021 federal appropriations bills, including the Labor-HHS-Education Department spending bill, and legislators are expected to work on a full-year funding bill during the lame-duck session following the Nov. 3 elections.

COVID-19 stimulus bill

In other legislative news of interest to educators, the House passed on Oct. 1 the HEROES Act, a revised COVID-19 relief bill that includes $225 billion for education, with $182 billion for elementary and secondary schools. Passage of the bill clears it for Senate consideration. However, the Senate is not expected to take up the bill before the election.

House Democrats said K-12 schools could use HEROES Act funding to cover expenses related to making up instructional time, and would cover the personnel costs of educators, school leaders, and other classified school employees.

The bill’s funding could also be used for:

  • School-based supports, including mental health, parent and family engagement, and coordination required for medical services;
  • Sanitation and cleaning for schools and school transportation;
  • Professional development for educators about trauma-informed care;
  • Educational technology, including assistive technology, to better connect students with special needs and their classroom instructors.
  • Efforts to coordinate emergency planning exercises for state educational agencies and public health departments
  • Any activities authorized by the ESEA, IDEA, McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, and the Perkins Act;

The measure would also provide a $5 billion fund to help remediate school buildings so that student and staff health are protected.

Charles Hendrix covers education funding and other Title I issues for LRP Publications.