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By advancing the Previous Question, House Democrats have blocked for the fourth time consideration of Rep. Ashley Hinson’s (IA-1) legislation, the Reopen Schools Act (H.R. 682), to ensure that the $54.3 billion Congress appropriated just a month ago in order to help schools reopen is in fact prioritized to meet the expenses of actually reopening  for in-person learning.

  • Congress provided an additional $54.3B for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund in the December COVID Relief package. To date, this funding remains largely unspent.
  • In-person learning is essential for our children’s education and well-being. It is time that Congress trust the science and act to get our students back to school.
    • (“CDC Officials Say Evidence Indicates Schools Can Reopen If Precautions Are Taken,” The New York Times, 1/26/21)

WATCH: Rep. Hinson delivered remarks in support of her legislation (excerpts below):

“I rise today as a voice for the thousands of students across this country who have not stepped foot in the classroom or on the playground for over a year.” 

… 

“Schools nationwide have got to have a plan to reopen before it is too late for our students.

“The mental health toll of long-term school closures on students is staggering. Recent data shows that mental health care claims for children 13-18 – these are our teenagers, our next generation – have doubled over the past year. 

“Emergency room doctors are saying they are treating more young people in crisis than ever before. 

“And now it is being reported that students across the country have ‘fallen off the grid.”’

“As weeks out of school turned into months, and months turned into a year—kids have fallen through the cracks–academically, emotionally, and physically.” 

“Thousands of our youngest, most vulnerable Americans are unaccounted for. Enrollment is dropping, especially in rural areas in states like Iowa. So now, one year out of the classroom is turning into two—at least. 

“We must act—and quickly. 

“That is why I introduced the Reopen Schools Act. This legislation would ensure that school districts are using money that was appropriated from this body, $54 billion of it, on proven safety measures that will allow them to reopen safely and as soon as possible.”

Democrats voted against the measure by a vote of 213-195.