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Senate Republicans target Democrats over school reopenings in new campaign

Senate Republicans target Democrats over school reopenings in new campaign
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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 WarnockSenate aims to pass anti-Asian hate crimes bill this week Loeffler group targets Democrats with billboards around baseball stadium Warnock raises nearly M since January victory MORE (Ga.), Mark KellyMark KellyManchin throws support behind union-backed PRO Act Republicans fret over divisive candidates Wall Street spent .9B on campaigns, lobbying in 2020 election: study MORE (Ariz.), Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoHispanic Caucus energized by first Biden meeting To encourage innovation, Congress should pass two bills protecting important R&D tax provision RNC rolls out ad campaign hitting Democrats over election reform MORE (N.M.), Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetOvernight Energy: Biden reportedly will pledge to halve US emissions by 2030 | Ocasio-Cortez, Markey reintroduce Green New Deal resolution Democrats get good news from IRS Senators press for answers in Space Command move decision MORE (Colo.), Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthTrump looms over Senate's anti-Asian hate crimes battle Lawmakers demand justice for Adam Toledo: 'His hands were up. He was unarmed' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring MORE (Ill.) and Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanSchumer lays groundwork for future filibuster reform To encourage innovation, Congress should pass two bills protecting important R&D tax provision Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists 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.).

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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 overruled Blinken, top officials on initial refugee cap decision: report Suicide bombing hits Afghan security forces Jim Jordan, Val Demings get in shouting match about police during hearing 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 WalenskyUS to expand 'do not travel' warning to 80 percent of countries amid COVID-19 spike The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - All US adults can get vaccine; decision Friday on J&J vax Five global concerns for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause 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.