AFT President Randi Weingarten Welcomes Introduction of HEROES Act
WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement in response to the House Democrats’ proposed Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, known as the HEROES Act, a proposed second COVID-19 recovery bill:
“In a stark contrast to the chaotic guidance and misleading, wishful rhetoric from President Trump, today’s proposal from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats takes a vital step toward helping our country begin to recover from the devastation of COVID-19. It lays out—and pays for—a plan to prioritize the health, safety, well-being and economic security of all Americans, including our immigrant communities, and protects the very people and institutions that have carried us through this crisis, especially our state and local governments, public schools and frontline workers.
“Instead of pitting people against each other, the relief offered in this package combats the virus by providing $75 billion for testing, tracing and hospital support, which are critical for safe reopening. It also invests nearly $1 trillion in state and local governments, including $100 billion in public schools and colleges. The package places a clear priority on funding our students’ future—including increased broadband access, increased SNAP benefits and other food assistance, and a requirement that states maintain their resource effort so funding for public schools cannot be decimated, as it was during previous economic crises.
“The proposal also covers important support that working people desperately need, including extended unemployment insurance, assistance with healthcare payments, and a new emergency standard for workplace safety to protect those who are being exposed on the job. Plus, it offers additional resources to ensure safe and fair elections in anticipation of the most important presidential election of our lifetime.
“The relief in this package, particularly the federal support to states, cities and towns, is essential for maintaining the public services that our communities depend on. The onus is now on the Senate to do the right thing and pass a similar package for the good of the entire country.”
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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.