Durbin Slams President Trump & Senate Republican Proposal Conditioning Federal Funds To Schools On Reopening In-Person

WASHINGTON U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), today during a speech on the Senate floor, slammed President Trump and Senate Republicans for attempting to condition education funds in the next coronavirus relief package on the reopening of elementary and secondary schools for in-person instruction.  Durbin instead urged his colleagues to pass the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act, which provides $175 billion to elementary and secondary schools to help meet technology, cleaning, staffing, and other needs.

“Let me be really clear. There is a concern about empty classrooms. Those who study childhood behavior worry that lack of socialization takes its toll on childhood development. Teachers are often sentinels for child abuse which may be going unreported. Remote learning works well for some but not for others. But that's not the concern for this President. He wants schools back so he can claim some kind of false victory over the coronavirus,” Durbin said.

“Unlike President Trump, who's nicely insulated in the bubble of the White House with multiple daily COVID-19 tests for everyone who just might come in contact with him, these educational professionals in my home state of Illinois have to answer directly to the families and their communities. It's a decision that local officials are best suited to make without intimidation or threats from Washington, D.C.,” Durbin continued. “Schools in Chicago and around our state don't need any more tweets or self-congratulatory briefings…They need federal resources and guidance based on the best science our government has to offer.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.

Last week, along with 24 of his Senate colleagues, Durbin led a letter to Senate leadership to reject the Trump Administration’s demands that would risk the health and lives of students and school personnel, and that Congress should instead provide federal assistance to schools in need and support for local officials to base reopening decisions on facts and science.

The Senate Republican proposal would provide only $70 billion to elementary and secondary education –with an estimated two-thirds of that federal funding held hostage unless schools reopen to in-person learning.