Rep. Steve Scalise: School reopening requirement should be tied to COVID relief bill


House Minority Whip Steve Scalise said Sunday the billions of taxpayer dollars the Biden administration is seeking to give to schools in his coronavirus relief package should be tied to a requirement that schools reopen for in-person instruction.

Mr. Scalise, Louisiana Republican, also questioned why President Biden is pushing for $130 billion in school funding when there is still roughly $60 billion in unspent federal funds from the two respective relief packages passed by Congress last year.

“The question remains why do they need hundreds of millions of new dollars from the federal government if they won’t reopen schools,” Mr. Scalise said on ABC’s “This Week.” “This idea that Washington should be giving out $100-plus billion of new money to schools and not request they reopen, that’s an insult to those children who are demanding they go back to school.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said earlier Sunday that Mr. Biden does not plan to block federal funds from going to schools that do not reopen.

“That is not a contingency that we are recommending to go in the bill or in legislation,“ Ms. Psaki said on ABC “This Week.” “What he believes is that school districts working with our secretary of education, who we certainly hope will be confirmed this week, need to make a determination about what works best for them based on the CDC guidelines.”

Ms. Psaki said Mr. Biden still hopes that schools will reopen by April.

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