(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) today joined Reps. Jared Huffman (D-CA), Angie Craig (D-MN), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Joe Neguse (D-CO), and David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-WV) and 45 colleagues in sending a letter to House leadership urging them to include full funding for special education programs in future COVID-19 relief packages. While the CARES Act creates a set-aside for educational programs including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), there is still a greater need for the full funding the government promised over 40 years ago. 

“As schools move to remote learning, the resources promised by the federal government in IDEA are even more essential,” the members wrote in their letter. “The CARES Act is a step in the right direction, but it is necessary that IDEA receives its own designated set aside in any future packages. The comprehensive assessment and support services authorized by IDEA help to close the academic achievement gap and help prepare these students for further education, employment, and independent living. Educators are working overtime to assure their students with disabilities are still receiving a quality and appropriate education, but the challenges to meet this goal are even greater with online learning. Now, more than ever, it is incumbent upon the federal government to provide these resources for special needs students.

The letter was also signed by Colin Z. Allred (D-TX), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (D-CA), Jason Crow (D-CO), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Suzan K. DelBene (D-WA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Bill Foster (D-IL), Jesús G. "Chuy" García (D-IL), Sylvia R. Garcia (D-TX), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Jim Himes (D-CT), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), William R. Keating (D-MA), Daniel T. Kildee (D-MI), Conor Lamb (D-PA), Daniel W. Lipinski (D-IL), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Elaine G. Luria (D-VA), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Dean Phillips (D-MN), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Harley Rouda (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Terri A. Sewell (D-AL), Adam Smith (D-WA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Haley M. Stevens (D-MI), Mike Thompson (D-CA), David Trone (D-MD), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Peter Welch (D-VT), John Yarmuth (D-KY), Don Young (R-AK).

The full letter can be found here.