Chairman Scott Remarks at Moving Forward Act Press Conference
WASHINGTON – Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) delivered the following remarks at a press event with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders about the Moving Forward Act (H.R.2), which includes the Rebuild and Reopen America’s Schools Act.
“Thank you, Speaker Pelosi and thank you for your hard work and dedication on all of the issues, especially infrastructure. I want to thank our other Chairs for their leadership.
“I know I speak for students, parents, and educators across the country when I say how important it is for our nation’s schools to be included in this infrastructure package.
“Even before the pandemic, our chronic neglect of America’s public schools forced students and teachers across the country to learn and work in outdated and hazardous school buildings. In 2017, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave our nation’s school infrastructure a grade of ‘D+.’
“Now, as we confront the COVID-19 pandemic, our failure to make necessary investments in school infrastructure could prevent schools from reopening safely. In its guidance to school districts, the CDC advises that ensuring ‘ventilation systems operate properly’ is a key consideration for schools seeking to reopen.
“But earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office released a report finding that 4 in 10 school districts need to update or replace Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems in at least half of their school buildings.
“The Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act, which is in included in this infrastructure package, would make necessary investments to help school districts open safely.
“H.R. 2 invests $100 billion over the next five years, targeted at high-poverty schools with facilities that pose health and safety risks to students and staff.
“In response to the pandemic, funding in the first year will be expedited to states so they can prioritize schools that are least prepared to meet public health reopening guidelines.
“This legislation is particularly important given the unprecedented budget shortfalls facing state governments. While wealthier school districts are more likely to fund projects through local property taxes, high-poverty schools are left to rely state funding that was already in short supply before the pandemic.
“Everybody wants to open schools as soon as possible, but the health disparities we have witnessed during the pandemic will continue to worsen if low-income students are forced to return to schools that cannot afford to comply with public health guidance.
“Passing this legislation will not only help students get back to school, it will help workers get back to work by creating 1.9 million new jobs over the next five years. This infrastructure package, the Moving Forward Act, is a critical step towards helping our students and our economy recover from the pandemic.
“So, once again, I want to thank you, Speaker Pelosi, and all of our colleagues for the work you have done on this legislation. Madam Speaker, I now yield back as students will be much better off and better educated because of this legislation.”
Democratic Press Office, 202-226-0853
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