Senate Republicans target Democrats over school reopenings in new campaign

Senate Republicans target Democrats over school reopenings in new campaign
© Getty Images

The Senate Republican campaign arm is going after Democrats in new ads hitting them over school reopenings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The new 15-second digital spot from the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is targeting Democratic Sens. Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockOvernight Defense & National Security — Austin mandates vaccine for Guardsmen Biden signs four bills aimed at helping veterans Democrats anxious over Abrams silence on Georgia governor bid MORE (Ga.), Mark KellyMark KellyNo deal in sight as Congress nears debt limit deadline Five Senate Democrats reportedly opposed to Biden banking nominee Biden's pick for Arizona's US Attorney confirmed by Senate MORE (Ariz.), Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez Masto91 House Dems call on Senate to expand immigration protections in Biden spending bill Historic immigration reform included in House-passed spending bill Cook Political Report shifts three Senate races toward Republicans MORE (N.M.), Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetHickenlooper: Law preventing cannabis business banking 'a recipe for disaster' Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall Sununu exit underscores uncertain GOP path to gain Senate majority MORE (Colo.), Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthOvernight Defense & National Security — Austin mandates vaccine for Guardsmen Biden signs four bills aimed at helping veterans Wisconsin senators ask outsiders not to exploit parade attack 'for their own political purposes' MORE (Ill.) and Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanBiden signs four bills aimed at helping veterans Constant threats to government funding fail the American public Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall MORE (N.H.), all of whom are up for reelection next year. The ad highlights questions over the White House’s plans to reopen schools, a topic where the GOP believes it can go on the offensive.

“Classrooms are among the safest places in the country for children and teachers and the consequences of keeping children away from in-person learning are incalculable. In the face of overwhelming evidence, Senate Democrats refuse to take a stand against the union bosses and support reopening our schools. They’ve gone completely mute. The question every American should be asking is, ‘why does our Senator fight for teachers unions instead of our kids?’” said NRSC chairman Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.).

ADVERTISEMENT

The NRSC did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding how much money is going into the ad campaign and on what platforms the clip will be featured. Top platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Google have curtailed political advertising on their websites.

While Democrats, lobbied heavily by teachers’ unions, have taken a cautious stance on reopening schools, Republicans have advocated for a more aggressive approach.

The GOP’s criticism of President BidenJoe BidenBiden and Harris host 'family' Hanukkah celebration with more than 150 guests Symone Sanders to leave the White House at the end of the year Overnight Defense & National Security — Senate looks to break defense bill stalemate MORE on the topic ramped up when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said this month it is "critical for schools to open as safely and as soon as possible," given the benefits of in-person learning. CDC Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyCDC working to tighten testing requirement for international travelers Overnight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Omicron sets off a flurry of responses CDC strengthens recommendation to say all adults should get booster shot MORE also earlier said that “the science has demonstrated that schools can reopen safely prior to all teachers being vaccinated” for the coronavirus.

The White House has sent out mixed signals on how it plans to send students back into the classroom on a consistent basis. President Biden clarified at a town hall Tuesday that his goal is to have the majority of elementary and middle schools physically reopened five days a week by the end of his first 100 days in office. 

The Biden administration had previously said its goal was to have most schools open for at least one day of in-person learning each week, though critics noted that the goal had largely already been reached. 

Democrats have pushed back on the GOP’s criticism, noting that Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package — which Republicans view skeptically — includes $130 billion for local school districts. 

“Republicans mismanaged the response to this pandemic and still won’t give schools and teachers the resources and support they need to reopen safely, which is exactly what Democrats are working to do while GOP senators play political games,” said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesperson Stewart Boss.