EduJobs Funding Dead

By
Monday, July 19, 2010 at 4:40 pm

So much for stimulus.

Just before the July 4 congressional recess, the House passed a massive piece of legislation: a war-funding bill with billions in funding for domestic programs included, and a budget enforcement resolution attached. The bill moved on to the Senate, where Democrats hoped to preserve social safety-net spending and money for economically stimulative programs. One of the biggest, and most contentious, provisions that made it out of the House was $10 billion in aid for states, to keep teachers on the payroll. As many as 300,000 state employees, many of them teachers, might lose their jobs in the next year due to the states’ fiscal crises.

Rep. Dave Obey (D-Mich.) included the $10 billion for teacher funding, and took some of the money to pay for it from Race to the Top, the Obama administration’s signature education initiative. For that reason, President Obama signaled he might veto the entire bill. Obey later said that the White House recommended that he pay for the education jobs funding by taking from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, benefits formerly known as food stamps.

One way or another, it does not matter now. CQ reports that the Senate is stripping the funding out, and will seek another vehicle for it. But it seems unlikely any new deficit spending will get past the Senate, meaning the House will need to find offsets or raise taxes. CQ writes:

House Democratic leaders will accept the Senate’s plan to pass a stripped-down supplemental spending bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while seeking another vehicle for money to prevent the layoffs of some 140,000 teachers, a well-informed House aide said Monday.

The decision reflects the reality that Democrats lack the votes in the Senate to attach billions of dollars in help for states to keep teachers on the payroll this fall. …

One bill that is being studied as a vehicle is the leftover package of tax break extensions that are not included in the Senate’s extension of unemployment benefits. The Senate is scheduled to pass the unemployment bill on Tuesday and the House is expected to take it up on Wednesday.

The military needs Congress to authorize the funding for Iraq and Afghanistan as soon as possible. The current funding expires on Aug. 7.

Follow Annie Lowrey on Twitter


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