Today, the Senate overcame a key procedural hurdle to move forward on a much-needed $26.1 billion state aid bill. The provision provides $10 billion in funds for teachers’ jobs and $16.1 billion for Medicaid. Without the additional funding, promised to states for months, local governments might have laid off hundreds of thousands of teachers, police officers, social workers and firefighters, to solve their budget gaps.
Now, it needs a House vote and the president’s signature. The House is already on August recess. But its members might be back next week. The Hill reports that House leadership is considering calling back representatives from their campaigns in their home states. The House is not technically due back until the second week of September, but states need the funds disbursed immediately, since they have already started their fiscal calendar years.
This morning, 38 Senate Republicans voted to filibuster the bill, despite the fact that it was entirely paid for. After the vote, Democrats blasted the GOP for refusing to fund the deficit-neutral, job-saving bill — trying out a line to be used in the fall, “the GOP job-killing agenda.”
In a release, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), said, “Today we did our job as Senators: We saved people’s jobs. We’re keeping hundreds of thousands of teachers, firefighters and policemen from being fired. But those aren’t just numbers. These more a million families who need to put food on the table — more than a million people who can and want to be part of our recovery.”
He continued, “I am still simply astonished that more than 95 percent of Senate Republicans turned their backs on some of our most selfless and bravest Americans. I don’t envy them having to explain that back home.”
A spokesperson for Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), the House minority leader, told The Hill, “The American people don’t want more ‘stimulus’ spending – particularly spending for labor unions attached to a job-killing tax increase. Democrats would be better off listening to their constituents, who are asking, ‘where are the jobs,’ rather than returning to Washington to vote for more tax hikes and special interest bailouts.”
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