From Your Lobbyist: More COVID-19 and another BIG win.
April 3, 2020
Week of March 30-April 3
We hope this report finds you and your families safe and healthy during this difficult time. Last week, the third emergency COVID-19 stimulus bill (CV3) was signed into law that contained some important provisions for Young Americans. While the bill was not perfect at addressing all of the pressing needs for young people during this crisis, we were pleased with some of the provisions in the funding deal to address the economic fallout of COVID-19. However, we think the bill could have gone further to help young families in the long run during this ongoing crisis and that is why we are going to continue to advocate for young Americans in the 4th package, which Congress is starting to work on now.
Overview of CV3, the law:
- Provides short term loan and interest suspension for student borrowers of federal loans through September 2020 and halts all involuntary collections;
- Allows employer assistance towards student loan repayments to be excluded from taxable employee income for 1-year––this was a HUGE win for us because it is a short-term version of the Employer Participation in Repayment Act (EPRA) which we have been lobbying hard for!
- Allocates almost $14 billion to IHE’s to cover costs associated with COVID-19 and requires 50% of the funds to go to students in the form of emergency grants covering food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care;
- Expands unemployment insurance payments up to an additional $600 per week and creates a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program that covers anyone not eligible for regular unemployment, including gig workers––many of whom are young Americans.
While we are grateful for all of these wins, AYA knows there is more we can do in the next bill to help young Americans. Here is what we will be fighting for in CV4:
- Additional benefits for recent college graduates entering the now-defunct labor market during this crisis
- Ensuring all loans are suspended with no interest accrual, including private student loans or federally guaranteed loans held by private companies
- At least some outright student debt cancellation
- Stronger incentives to prevent states from cutting their higher education budgets and state student aid
- National rent freeze provisions
As AYA’s Founder Ben Brown stated last week, “the Association of Young Americans will continue to uplift the voices of our members and advocate for our priorities as Congress passes this bill into law and begins work on the 4th stimulus funding package.” On that note, I will continue lobbying to make sure that the CV4 funding package goes even further to address the needs of young Americans.
Stay safe, stay healthy, stay home! #WeAreInThisTogether