This is a relief.
House Democrats today passed a bill doling out $26.1 billion to states to help them pay for teachers and emergency workers and to cover growing Medicaid costs. President Obama Tuesday morning hailed Congress for returning to Washington unexpectedly one week into the summer recess. Thanks to two Republican votes from Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both from Maine, the measure passed the Senate 61-39 last week.
The House passed the measure 247-161. Democrats and the White House estimate the new spending could save up to 300,000 teachers’ jobs across the country. Supporters see it as building on the stimulus program from 2009. But like anything in an election year, the vote set off political nastiness.
It’s a ready-made campaign commercial as Democrats plan to hail their own votes as heroic when states are facing massive budget crises. And — you guessed it — Republicans will say it’s another big-spending government plan.
Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) mocked the bill as “more ‘stimulus’ spending,” and offered a preview for how Republicans will frame the debate on the trail by saying the taxes that pay for the measure are a “new job-killing tax on U.S. job creators.” It was actually paid for with cuts to programs such as food stamps. (more…)