Rep. Payne, Jr.’s Move to Reimburse Schools for Coronavirus Masks Passes House

November 19, 2020
Press Release

Media Contact:  Patrick Wright   --  Patrick.Wright@mail.house.gov

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr.’s bill to reimburse schools for coronavirus emergency protective equipment passed the House this week as part of the FEMA Assistance Relief Act (H.R. 8266). 

Congressman Payne, Jr.’s bill, the Masks for Students Act, would have required the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to continue to reimburse local K-12 schools nationwide for the masks purchased to protect in-school students during the coronavirus global pandemic.  The new bill contains even stronger language to support schools and states that FEMA would not be able to reject any request for reimbursement from schools for coronavirus protective equipment.  Both bills were reactions to the Trump administration’s decision to stop FEMA from reimbursing schools after the decision to redefine masks as an operating expense instead of an emergency expense during the coronavirus global pandemic.    

“It does not make sense to tell schools to keep their students and employees safe and then not support them in that effort,” said Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr.  “They need all the help we can give them.  I am pleased the House included the bill I introduced with my New Jersey colleague, Rep. Tom Malinowski, into the larger effort to use FEMA to protect our country.  We are still in a national medical emergency and schools in New Jersey and nationwide should not be punished for keeping students and workers safe.”

“As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country, it is more important than ever that our children and teachers are equipped with the necessary PPE at school,” said Rep. Malinowski. “I was proud to join Rep. Payne, Jr. in leading this effort to ensure New Jersey schools can continue to be reimbursed for masks purchased during this crisis.”

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