December 14, 2020

Kaine Statement on Bipartisan COVID Relief Bill, Inclusion of His Job Training Provisions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine—a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and co-chair of the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus—released the following statement today upon the announcement of a deal on a $748 billion bipartisan coronavirus relief bill:

“While not perfect, the compromise delivers relief that’s far overdue: jobless benefits, small business loans, funds for vaccine distribution and health care providers, housing assistance, food assistance. I applaud Mark Warner and my other friends in the bipartisan Gang of 8 for their diligence in reaching agreement on these items. I’m particularly pleased the package includes provisions of mine to expand assistance to education institutions and students affected by the pandemic and allow states to use relief funds for job training. Americans have already waited too long for this, and we should continue pushing for a compromise on how to spend an additional $160 billion to help people and their communities. If there’s any move toward a recess before we pass a COVID package, I will object. We must stay in session until we deliver much needed relief.”

Modeled after Kaine’s Assisting Community Colleges in Educating Skilled Students (ACCESS) to Careers Act, the career training provision of this bill would allow states to use money from their Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Funds (created under the CARES Act in March) to support career training programs at community and technical colleges and other institutions of higher education. Funds could also be used to support industry partnerships to inform such programs and to provide support for students who have been affected by the pandemic. Another provision—modeled after the Coronavirus Relief Flexibility for Students and Institutions Act—would allow colleges to use emergency stabilization funds to cover lost revenue and would make emergency financial aid grants available to a broad group of students with financial need, not just those who have filled out a FAFSA application.