With help from Michael Stratford
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— A vote is expected Friday on House Democrats’ next round of coronavirus rescue legislation, which would include more than $100 billion in additional stimulus funding for education and up to $10,000 in student loan forgiveness for each borrower. Senate Republicans, however, have no timeline for delivering their own bill.
— Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, urged caution at a Senate hearing during an exchange on the reopening of schools, warning that the public “better be very careful.”
— New York health officials are investigating about 100 cases of young people, under age 21, who may be infected with an inflammatory illness that appears to be tied to the coronavirus outbreak.
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DEMOCRATS UNVEIL LATEST ECONOMIC LIFELINE: Legislation known as the HEROES Act, H.R. 6800 (116), unveiled on Tuesday calls for $90 billion in grants to governors to distribute among K-12 schools and public colleges to deal with the pandemic. Another $10 billion would be set aside to address coronavirus disruption in higher education, including $1.7 billion earmarked specifically for historically black colleges and other minority-serving institutions.
— House Democrats are also proposing up to $10,000 of forgiveness per borrower for individuals who have both federal and private student loans.
— The bill also includes a provision pushed by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) that would fully forgive the debts of student loan borrowers who were covered by the Education Department’s findings of misconduct against Corinthian Colleges or ITT Tech.
— The legislation targets Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ implementation of education stimulus funding so far under the CARES Act, including her decision to bar undocumented students and many others from receiving money. The bill would prohibit DeVos from “from imposing any restriction on, or defining, the populations of students who may receive such funds other than a restriction based solely on the student’s enrollment at the institution of higher education.”
— Before the legislation was released, Republicans already dismissed the bill as a Democratic wish list that would never become law. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week that lawmakers were still “assessing what we’ve done already” in terms of the CARES Act. More from Michael Stratford.
THE HOMEWORK GAP: The House bill would also appropriate $1.5 billion to help close the so-called digital Homework Gap by funding Wi-Fi hotspots and other connected devices, set to be administered through the FCC E-Rate program.
— The funding is part of several billion dollars in proposed spending on internet connectivity. Republicans previously objected to some of these ideas, such as relying on E-Rate to disburse education dollars. More from John Hendel.
FAUCI URGES CAUTION ON REOPENING SCHOOLS: Fauci pushed back during the hearing against Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who said it would be “a huge mistake” to keep schools closed this fall while the nation fights the coronavirus pandemic.
— “If we keep kids out of school for another year, what’s going to happen is the poor and underprivileged kids who don’t have a parent that’s able to teach them at home are not going to learn for a full year?” said Paul, who said last month he has recovered from Covid-19.
— But Fauci said the public “better be very careful,” particularly when it comes to how the virus affects children. He highlighted a “very strange inflammatory syndrome” among children that’s potentially associated with the virus (more on that below).
— “You’re right in the numbers that children in general do much, much better than adults, and the elderly, and particularly those with underlying conditions,” Fauci told Paul. “But I am very careful, and hopefully humble, in knowing that I don’t know everything about this disease — and that’s why I’m very reserved in making broad predictions.” More from Juan Perez Jr.
— Fauci later said “absolutely not” when HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) asked for clarification on whether Fauci was suggesting a vaccine is needed for students to go back to school. Fauci said it depends on testing and “the dynamics of the outbreak” in the school’s region. “I did not mean to imply at all any relationship between the availability of a vaccine and treatment and our ability to go back to school,” he said.
HAPPENING TODAY: The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis will hold its first briefing with a bipartisan group of experts on requirements for safely reopening the country. Watch the livestream at 3 p.m.
NEW YORK TARGETS INFLAMMATORY ILLNESS AFFECTING KIDS: State health officials are directing hospitals and medical providers to prioritize Covid-19 testing for children and adolescents who may be infected with the possible coronavirus-related illness, reports POLITICO’s Shannon Young. It has killed at least three people, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday: a 5-year-old boy, a 7-year-old boy and an 18-year-old girl.
— The governor advised parents and medical providers to be on the lookout for symptoms of the illness, which are similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome. They include prolonged fever, difficulty feeding, chest pain and changes in skin color, he said.
— New York City has identified 52 cases of the illness, known as pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome. Another 10 potential cases are being reviewed, officials said on Tuesday.
DEMOCRATS PLAN TO GO AFTER DEVOS OVER CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE: Democrats are planning a new line of attack against DeVos over her response to the pandemic. A new memo being circulated today by the Democratic National Committee argues DeVos “used this crisis as an opportunity to push her disastrous agenda that undermines our nation’s public school system.” It also cites DeVos’ move to block undocumented students from relief aid and a lawsuit against her over wage garnishment during the pandemic.
— DNC Chairman Tom Perez will hold a call today with the mayor of Southfield, Mich., and a Grand Rapids teacher. A DNC spokesperson says the effort will continue in other battleground states and include “press calls, virtual events, guest columns and other digital tactics, utilizing surrogates as well as the voices of teachers, parents, and students and others who have been impacted.”
— Education Department spokesperson Angela Morabito responded, calling the DNC’s memo “a pathetic, misleading and plainly false attack.” She said in a statement: “Secretary DeVos has moved with unprecedented speed to help America’s students and teachers. She didn’t wait for Congress to start helping students: She allowed states to waive federal standardized testing requirements, set the federal student loan interest rate to zero, suspended payments on federal student loans before the CARES Act was written, and provided states unprecedented flexibility so learning could continue. The Department got all of the CARES Act funding out ahead of schedule and with maximum flexibility.”
JILL BIDEN SHARES ‘TAZA’ OF JOE WITH STUDENTS: Former Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, Jill, shared what she’s been doing during her spare time at home during a virtual visit with students and teachers from Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy: learning Spanish. “I’m drinking my coffee from my taza. I think I’m saying that correctly,” she told students in a Spanish class, lifting a cup with the word “taza” written on an attached 3×5 card.
— Jill Biden, a career educator, said she hopes to use her new skill when she returns to Northern Virginia Community College, where she teaches many Spanish-speaking students. “I know it’s going to be very basic, but I’m hoping that they appreciate the fact that I’m trying to learn their language as well,” she said.
— She also talked with AP English students about how they’re coping during the crisis and with fellow teachers about how the coronavirus has put a spotlight on inequities in education. “We’ve got to bring broadband to every part of this country so that every kid can get on the internet,” she said.
— Indiana rejects guidance from DeVos to reroute more coronavirus relief to private schools: Chalkbeat
— California sues DeVos over ban on emergency aid for undocumented students: POLITICO Pro
— Interest rates on federal student loans plummet to record lows: POLITICO Pro
— Fauci fatigue sets in among some Republicans: POLITICO Pro
— CSU to cancel most in-person classes this fall: POLITICO Pro
— An elementary school repeatedly dismissed allegations against its principal. Then, an FBI agent pretended to be a 13-year-old girl: ProPublica