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Obey, Miller Chide WaPo Editorial Page for Rapping Education Jobs Bill

The Washington Post editorial page is a perennial bugaboo for progressive blogs and think tanks — with editor Fred Hiatt taking fire for, among many choices, his selection of Sarah Palin to opine on climate change, his defense of George W. Bush’s handling of prewar intelligence and his hiring of not one but two former Bush speechwriters as columnists.

But it’s rare to see House Democratic committee chairmen joining the chorus of critics of Hiatt’s page, as the Appropriations Committee’s David Obey (D-Wis.) and the Education and Labor Committee’s George Miller (D-Calif.) did in a terse letter this morning.

Obey and Miller took aim at Post editorial writers for criticizing Democrats’ $23 billion bill intended to stave off an estimated 100,000 looming teacher layoffs across the country. Calling the education jobs package “shallow,” the Post editorialized on Friday that “it’s certainly not a uniquely effective way to stimulate the economy” and suggested that teachers’ unions had inflated predictions of job losses that would occur in the absence of extra federal funding.

Obey and Miller were even more direct in their takedown of the editorial:

We have two choices: We can sit, frozen in the ice of our own indifference, as Franklin Roosevelt once said, or we can take action to save these jobs.

By arguing that we should “Fail this jobs bill,” as the headline on a May 28 editorial put it, The Post has made the wrong choice. Many members of Congress agree; 62 even asked to co-sign this letter.

Meanwhile, the teacher-aid legislation appears stalled for the time being after Senate education committee chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) acknowledged that he lacked the necessary GOP votes to move the $23 billion. (Thirty-four Republican senators voted for the 2008 Wall Street bailout, which carried an estimated price tag more than 20 times higher than the education bill and was not offset by corresponding spending cuts.)

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