Press release from NBC News:
On this week of Meet the Press: College Roundtable, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) tells the university journalists that college students should be included in any future economic relief packages passed by Congress to combat economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
Rep. Porter also told the roundtable, “Until we have a clear testing program for our college students, as well as funding for it, I think it’s gonna be very difficult for universities and students, most importantly, as well as faculty and staff, to feel comfortable on campus.”
Plus, as the Trump administration plans to end federal funding for more than a dozen community-based coronavirus testing sites this month, Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.) said that to continue to reopen the economy, “We are going to need to be able to continue to test … Regardless of how you feel about the science about all of this and the rest of it, the point is simple.”
This week, Chuck Todd is joined by Ellen Burstein, a rising junior at Harvard University and staff writer for the Harvard Crimson; Tyreye Morris, a rising Junior at Morehouse College and member of the Morehouse Moot Court team; and Moss Brennan, a rising senior at Appalachian State University and editor-in-chief of The Appalachian.
During the discussion, the group of student journalists also asked the two representatives about federal funding for coronavirus testing, safety measures for reopening universities and financial support for college students amid the pandemic.
KEY DISCUSSION HIGHLIGHTS:
Rising senior at Appalachian State University Moss Brennan asks California Rep. Katie Porter about the inclusion of college students in a future stimulus package
MOSS BRENNAN: “In the last stimulus package, many college students were left out of stimulus checks and other support. If there is another stimulus package, what will you do to help college students?”
REP. KATIE PORTER: “Yeah, so I think we should include college students in receiving these helping hand payments, they really do make a difference. A lot of our college students have faced increased expenses, they’ve had to travel back home. And so it’s important to understand that the point of these payments is that we as the federal government can’t predict exactly all of the different kinds of people and ways that families and Americans are being hurt by coronavirus. So, I do support making sure that college students and college-age dependents, adult dependants, are included in any further economic impact payments that we make.”
Rising junior at Harvard University Ellen Burstein asks North Dakota Rep. Kelly Armstrong about the White House ending federal funding for coronavirus testing
ELLEN BURSTEIN: “Epidemiologists and public health officials have said that the path to reopening involves a robust testing and tracing program. The White House plans to end federal funding for 13 coronavirus testing sites by the end of this month. With states facing tightening budgets as a result of the pandemic, is it the right move to end federal funding for testing?”
REP. KELLY ARMSTRONG: ”Well, I don’t think so. I think we should continue to test. A lot of it depends on where you’re at and how you deal with this. We have a state, North Dakota, that has dealt with this in a much different way. And I think we need to continue to do this not only just because of the health crisis but also because we need to be able to, in order for our economy to open back up, we are going to need to be able to continue to test and continue to move forward. Regardless of how you feel about the science about all of this and the rest of it, the point is simple. I mean, we’ve seen this in North Dakota. North Dakota is one of the few states that never really shut down or never had a Shelter in Place Order, but until consumers are comfortable going back and participating in the economy, we’re still going to see the economy struggle.”
Rising junior at Morehouse College Tyreye Morris asks California Rep. Katie Porter if students should be back on campus next semester amid the coronavirus pandemic
TYREYE MORRIS: “Congresswoman Porter, should schools have students on campus next semester? And, what has been done to help universities determine the safest way to bring students back to campus?”
REP. KATIE PORTER: “This is a really important question and our universities are struggling to come up with an answer. But I did a roundtable with local college leaders in my community, and each one is taking a somewhat different approach. What’s missing is clear guidance from the federal government, as well as financial support to universities to help them make the adjustments that they need to do. So some universities I’ve talked to are going to adjust housing, so that every student will have a single dorm room. Other universities are going to move some classes remote, reserving in person classes for things like laboratory science. But until we have a clear testing program for our college students, as well as funding for it, I think it’s gonna be very difficult for universities and students, most importantly, as well as faculty and staff, to feel comfortable on campus.”