POLICY & ADVOCACY

December 22nd, 2020

Congress Passes FY21 Funding Bill that Includes COVID-19 Relief

U.S. Capitol in the Summer

With hours to spare before a potential government shutdown, Congress has passed a bill to fund the government for the remainder of the 2021 fiscal year (which ends in September 2021). Members of Congress agreed to modest increases in critical education programs such as Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act (+$227 million for a total of $16.537 billion) and Part B Grants to States under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (+$173 million for a total of $12.937 billion). 

Written into this funding bill is also more than $900 billion to address the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. This investment in our nation comes after months of negotiation and nine months after the last COVID-19 relief bill was passed. The bill includes a number of investments into education programs including:

  • $819 million for the Bureau of Indian Education; 
  • $4.1 billion for the Governors Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund (which can be used for early childhood, K-12, or higher education);  
  • $54.3 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund; and  
  • $22.7 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) Fund.

In addition, the bill includes:

  • $600 in direct payments to individuals making up to $75,000 per year and $1,200 for couples making up to $150,000 per year, as well as a $600 payment for each child dependent. 
  • $10 billion in emergency funds for the child care sector through the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program. 
  • $3.2 billion in emergency funds for low-income families to access broadband through a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fund. 

While neither the FY21 investments nor the COVID-19 relief provision in this bill are sufficient to meet the growing needs of our students, educators, and families, they are a welcome way to end this Congress. NCLD looks forward to working with the 117th Congress and the Biden Administration in January to secure more funding for our communities in need.

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