The American Federation of Teachers has launched a $1 million ad campaign, urging the U.S. Senate to pass the HEROES Act, or the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, which would provide an additional $3 trillion in funding for COVID-19 relief efforts.
The 30-second ad called “Essential,” shows essential workers, such as first responders, food service workers and teachers, equipped with face shields, masks and gloves, going about their jobs in the midst of the pandemic.
“We can’t afford to forfeit our future,” the ad says, urging viewers to contact their senators and support the HEROES Act.
In addition to running in Pennsylvania, similar ads are also running in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.
The second round of relief funding would allocate $1 trillion to state and local governments for COVID-19 relief, $200 billion for hazard pay for essential workers who face greater risk of contracting COVID-19 and another round of $1,200 direct payments, among other expenditures.
The bill passed the Democrat-controlled U.S. House last month, but awaits a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Senate Republicans have stalled the bill, saying more information is needed on the impact other stimulus packages, such as the CARES Act, have had on the economy before another stimulus measure is passed.
However, GOP members could offer their own version of the bill for consideration as the COVID-induced recession continues.
AFT President Randi Weingarten said in a statement:
“If the HEROES Act fails to pass, and states and schools don’t get the support they need to reopen safely, then they’ll stay shut and the economy will stall—it’s that simple,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “America is in the midst of a triple crisis: a health crisis, an economic recession and systemic racism, all made worse by a president who wants to divide, not heal. Kids are traumatized, parents and educators are on edge, and many frontline workers are risking their own health to battle the virus.” AFT President Randi Weingarten said in a statement obtained by the Capital-Star.
“There are no magic fixes—the only path to recovery is a stimulus package that funds, rather than forfeits, our future. We urgently need the federal dollars included in the HEROES Act to help states, cities, towns and schools weather this rolling storm,” Weingarten continued. “If we fail to act, essential services will be gutted and hundreds of thousands more educators, healthcare workers and public employees will be laid off. This would make these three crises worse, not better—and it’s only fixable if Senate Majority Leader [Mitch] McConnell and President [Donald] Trump act now.”