Federal Advocacy & Public Policy Team
April 2, 2021
NSBA Weekly Update
President Biden Unveils Infrastructure Proposal
On Wednesday, March 31, the Biden administration released a long-awaited legislative proposal to invest roughly $2.3 trillion in infrastructure projects and related efforts over the next eight years. Dubbed the “American Jobs Plan,” the proposal outlines a multitude of areas that the administration would like Congress to prioritize for infrastructure investment as part of a larger push to spur further economic recovery. Of particular note, the proposal envisions a new $100 billion investment specifically dedicated to modernizing existing structures and building new K-12 school facilities. The plan also proposes $12 billion and $25 billion for these same purposes for community colleges and childcare facilities, respectively. The proposal also seeks to invest heavily in the nation’s digital infrastructure, recommending Congress dedicate $100 billion to expand broadband access and increase affordability. To fund these and many other new proposed investments, the American Jobs Plan recommends tax increases on corporations and high-income earners among other provisions intended to raise revenue.
Democratic education leaders, Chairman Scott (D-VA) and Chairwoman Murray (D-WA), expressed early support for the proposal upon its release. However, Congressional Republicans have been much less receptive to this initial legislative proposal from the Biden Administration. With both the House and the Senate on recess through most of next week, lawmakers will have ample opportunity to consider the proposal before returning to Washington, D.C. later this month. A White House factsheet on the plan can be accessed here.
USED Announces (Some) State Waiver Decisions
Late Friday evening, March 26, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) released several decisions regarding state waiver requests related to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). In response to the ongoing pandemic, several states have sought to waive federally mandated testing requirements as part of ESSA. Since President Biden’s inauguration earlier this year, USED has made clear that it will not issue “blanket waivers” for states absolving them of these testing requirements for a second… [READ FULL UPDATE: NSBA Federal Update 4-2-2021]