House Moves Forward on Budget Reconciliation COVID-19 Package with Funding for Education Research
House Moves Forward on Budget Reconciliation COVID-19 Package with Funding for Education Research

February 2021

Throughout February, House committees have worked on developing a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus and recovery package through the budget reconciliation process. The pieces of the overall package reflect the Biden administration’s proposed American Rescue Plan. The fiscal year 2021 reconciliation package also contains some funding for education research to address learning loss and recovery.

The House Education and Labor Committee included $100 million for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) for research to address COVID-19-related learning loss and for disseminating findings to state and local education agencies.

IES Director Mark Schneider has indicated a need for additional resources for several components of Operation Reverse the Loss, including a developing a school pulse survey, ramping up funding for special education research, supporting transformative research, and scaling up effective interventions.

The Friends of IES sent a letter to congressional leadership on February 5 supporting $200 million for IES in the reconciliation package.

“We are deeply thankful to Chairman Scott and members of the Education and Labor Committee for including funding for IES in the reconciliation package,” said AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine. “Throughout the pandemic, there has been a tremendous need for evidence-based resources and data to support instruction and evidence-based decisions. This funding will allow IES to measure the impact of COVID-19 on education, but also support learning recovery for students who have faced barriers to education during the pandemic.”

While the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee did not hold a markup, its bill language will include $600 million for the National Science Foundation. The House Energy and Commerce Committee bill did not include relief funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The committee voted down an amendment introduced by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) to include $10 billion for NIH in the committee’s package since it did not have a corresponding offset in funding.

The House Budget Committee combined the nine bills that committees advanced on February 22.The House Rules Committee will take the next steps in incorporating the bill language from three committees that did not hold markup hearings, with the House expected to take up the bill on the floor at the end of the week of February 22.

The budget reconciliation process will allow the Senate to pass a bill under a simple majority. While there is no official deadline for passing the reconciliation measure, Democrats are aiming to have  a bill passed by March 14, prior to the expiration of expanded unemployment benefits.