AFT President Randi Weingarten Calls Senate Passage of American Rescue Plan a Lifeline
WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement after the U.S. Senate passed President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act, which provides nearly $2 trillion in federal relief to the American people. The plan passed following a slew of overnight amendments and debate:
“One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, families, communities, cities and towns are still reeling from one of the greatest crises our country has ever faced. Schools are attempting to reopen with new safety precautions; businesses are fighting to stay afloat with adjustments to our new normal; families are still struggling with rent and groceries; all while we are working to get as many vaccine shots in arms as quickly as humanly possible. Across this country, as we rebuild and recover, people need support. This bill puts resources directly into our cities and towns so the critical services that have carried us through this pandemic can continue to operate and the American people can get back on a path toward recovery. This relief package will ensure that families—no matter our color, background or ZIP code—have the vaccines, wages and financial support we need to pull through this pandemic together, and that school buildings have the resources they need to reopen for in-person learning safely and equitably.
“This plan is quite literally a lifeline for an economy that desperately needs one: Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have lost more than half a million jobs in public education and more than 100,000 jobs in healthcare. This is what governments looks like when it takes swift action to care for us all.
“We hope Congress sends the American Rescue Plan Act to the president’s desk as soon as possible.”
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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.