A group of centrist Senators circulated a version of COVID relief. The group that unveiled the plan Tuesday includes Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Angus King (I-Maine) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.). Some House members of the Problem Solvers Caucus also said they backed the deal. This plan would include $82 billion for education (but it is not clear how that would be divided between K-12 and higher education).
Senate Majority Mitch McConnell circulated his version that includes $105 for education(we don’t have the breakdown between higher ed and K-12). It also contains provisions to authorize funding for scholarship granting organizations for students to use toward private school and home school expenses. It would also provide tax credits, previously included in the Senate HEALS Act, and allow use of 529 savings plans for private school and home school expenses. [see summary of education section below]
(McConnell bill) TITLE VI – EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT AND CHILDCARE
· Educational Support: Authorizes one-time, emergency appropriations funding for scholarship-granting organizations (SGOs) in each state. States subgrant funds to SGOs that administer scholarships for students to use toward qualified educational expenses (as determined by the state), such as private school tuition and home-schooling expenses.
· The provision provides two years of tax credits for contributions to scholarship-granting organizations based on legislation introduced by Senators Scott, Alexander, and Cruz (School Choice Now Act/S. 4284)
· 529 Account Enhancements – The provision would allow parents of K-12 student at public, private, or religious schools to use 529 plan funds for expenses like books, online materials, licensed tutoring, that students may need to deal with the current circumstances and that are not provided by the school. It would also allow parents who home school to use 529 plan funds for educational expenses. The provision mirrors the Student Empower Act (S. 157), except it expires after two years.
· Childcare: Authorizes short-term assistance to help child care providers reopen and stay open so that parents have a safe place to send their children when they return to work.