Ripon Advance

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) on Sept. 11 proposed bicameral, bipartisan legislation to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global basic education programs.

Rep. Fitzpatrick signed on as the lead original cosponsor of the Global Learning Loss Assessment Act of 2020, H.R. 8220, with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), which would direct the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to submit to Congress a report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global basic education programs.

“The coronavirus pandemic has affected every corner of U.S. government, including foreign aid and development,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick and U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), co-chairs of the International Basic Education Caucus, in a joint statement. Quigley also cosponsored H.R. 8220.

“USAID’s mission is vital to America’s international relationship building,” the lawmakers said on Sept. 12. “Congress needs a thorough understanding of how the pandemic has impacted that mission if we hope to continue our global basic education programs successfully in the future.”

A report from USAID to Congress would be “the first step to developing that understanding and supporting USAID effectively moving forward,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick and his colleague.

If enacted, the measure would require USAID to submit a report within 90 days to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee that also would include an analysis of how school closures affect marginalized children, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Fitzpatrick’s staff.

Additionally, the study would include descriptions of forms of distance learning in low resource contexts; data on agency programs being carried out to continue learning during the pandemic; and what resources USAID needs to support education programs during and after the pandemic, according to the summary.

U.S. Sens. John Boozman (R-AR) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) on Sept. 9 introduced the same-named companion bill S. 4548 in their chamber.