In a bipartisan victory, the Senate unanimously voted to pass the Never Again Education Act Wednesday.
The act will fund the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) $10 million over the next five years. The funds will allow the museum to increase teacher access to their educational programming and resources, maintain a museum website containing curriculum materials on Holocaust education, and support professional development programming.
The House version passed of the bill January 27. It now awaits the signature of President Donald J. Trump (R).
“Combatting hate and intolerance must always be a priority and I’m glad that the Senate agrees. Passing this bill by unanimous consent today sends a strong message that the Congress is overwhelmingly united in combatting antisemitism and hate through education. Children are not born with hate in their hearts, it is up to us to make sure they never learn it,” said U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens), the act’s chief sponsor in the House. “To do that, we must make sure our educators have the tools they need to teach about the Holocaust, an incredibly difficult subject to teach and for students to understand.
Eric S. Goldstein, CEO of UJA-Federation of New York, which funds social services and Jewish life locally and abroad, agreed.
“UJA-Federation of New York is deeply grateful for the leadership of Congresswoman Maloney….in passing the Never Again Education Act,” he said. “Addressing antisemitism is critical to creating a more tolerant society, and this Act provides a critical groundwork by supporting schools, localities and States in teaching about the Holocaust. We look forward to the President swiftly signing this Act into law,”
Meanwhile, Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y) a Senate cosponsor, urged Trump to sign the act, declaring that the bill should help prevent future genocides or other crimes against humanity.
“In a time of moral emergency, in the 20s and 30s, too few spoke up and did what was necessary to face down anti-Semitism. We will not make the same mistake,” said Schumer. “We will educate the next generation about what can happen when we forget the past. A genocide not properly remembered can lead to another…I’m glad this critical legislation passed the Senate by unanimous consent to show the world that America will never forget the painful lessons of the Shoah.”
Despite wide congressional support for the act, several New York members of the House did not vote on it. A spokesperson told this reporter that Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens) wanted to vote in its favor, but was unable due to aiding in earthquake relief in Puerto Rico.
Also absent from the vote was Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn). Despite several requests for comment, he declined to respond.