Budget Reconciliation Package – House Education and Labor Proposal
BACKGROUND: The budget reconciliation process is in full swing, with House committees beginning to submit their proposals for what programs should be funded. The House Education and Labor Committee has proposed nearly $130B in grant funding directly to state and local education agencies and significant funding for social programs. However, even with a Democratic House and Senate, this massive spending bill is not guaranteed to pass.
SSWAA has reached out to Congress to ask for additional funding to help families across this country and adequately fund education. However, now we need you to take action as well. Please write your Congressional delegation and urge them to provide this money for critical school programs.
Proposal Fact Sheet
$128.5B for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSERF): This will go directly to state education agencies (SEAs), who are required to allocate at least 90% of the funding to local education agencies.
This section also includes a clause that requires education agencies to maintain spending for FY 2022 and FY 2023. This includes fiscal equity guardrails, which ensure that any state budget cuts do not disproportionately affect low-income students or districts.
Funding allocation will vary by state. Generally, allowable uses of ESSERF include staff training, mental health support, summer school and after school programs, funds for principals to address local needs, and other activities to continue school operations and employment of existing staff.
$40B to support childcare and head start programs
Increases federal minimum wage to $15/hour by 2025 •
Allows the P-EBT (Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer) program to be implemented for any school year where the COVID-19 public health emergency is in effect and provides for benefits to extend into summer.
Improvements to WIC
Authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to temporarily increase the WIC Cash Value Voucher value to $35 per month for four months during the pandemic.
$390M for WIC Program Modernization
Expands the age of eligibility for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) at emergency homeless shelters from 18 to 25.
Support for domestic/gender-based violence survivors
$800M total for CAPTA and FVPSA
$4.5B for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
TAKE ACTION: CALL or EMAIL your representatives. Find your Member of Congress here and your Senators here. Each office will have a different policy for reaching them that will be on their website. You might be able to email them directly or copy and paste your letter into the form provided on their website. You will also be linked to their websites and telephone numbers (or Google them!). Tell Congress to act!
HERE'S WHAT TO SAY: [Title and Last Name]: I am a school social worker in (city/county/school district) and a constituent of yours. I am writing to support the House Education and Labor Committee's proposal for the budget reconciliation bill. [INSERT PERSONAL STORY from your district about why we need funding for the programs listed above, or how it would impact you and your students if you get the chance!] I encourage you to show your support for school social workers and our students by voting in favor of the House Education and Labor Committee's proposal.
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