Senate stimulus bill extends funding for abstinence education
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Text of the bill released Wednesday morning, which is not yet final, would extend a program that gives grants to states that agree to promote abstinence-only sexual education. The program is set to expire in May, and would be extended through November by the coronavirus relief package.
The grant program requires any “State or other entity” accepting funds from the program “to implement education exclusively on sexual risk avoidance (meaning voluntarily refraining from sexual activity).”
The extension of funding for abstinence education is reportedly seen by Democrats as a favor to Republicans’ constituents, similarly to how Republicans criticized elements in the House Democrats stimulus proposal, including funding for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, as unrelated to the coronavirus crisis.
Politico reported that a senior Democratic aide flagged that provision as one that was unrelated to the coronavirus crisis as Republicans were flinging accusations at Democrats for packing the House bill with political goodies.
The abstinence education program Republicans are extending awards slightly under $50 million per year.
It is not clear when exactly the Senate will put the final coronavirus stimulus package up for a vote but lawmakers have signaled they intend to vote some time Wednesday.