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Archive for Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Obama signs emergency bill to halt teacher layoffs

August 11, 2010

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President Barack Obama signs a $26 billion jobs bill Tuesday to protect 300,000 teachers and other nonfederal government workers from election-year layoffs in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington. Behind the president are, from left, Christina Romer, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, and three out-of-work teachers: Amanda VanNess, Toledo, Ohio; Shannon Lewis, Romney, W.Va.; and Rachel Martin, Richton Park, Ill.

President Barack Obama signs a $26 billion jobs bill Tuesday to protect 300,000 teachers and other nonfederal government workers from election-year layoffs in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington. Behind the president are, from left, Christina Romer, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, and three out-of-work teachers: Amanda VanNess, Toledo, Ohio; Shannon Lewis, Romney, W.Va.; and Rachel Martin, Richton Park, Ill.

— Summoned back from summer break, the House on Tuesday pushed through an emergency $26 billion jobs bill that Democrats said would save 300,000 teachers, police and others from election-year layoffs. President Barack Obama immediately signed it into law.

Lawmakers streamed back to Washington for a one-day session as Democrats declared a need to act before children return to classrooms minus teachers laid off because of budgetary crises in states that have been hard-hit by the recession.

Republicans saw it differently, calling the bill a giveaway to teachers’ unions and an example of wasteful Washington spending that voters will punish the Democrats for in this fall’s elections. The legislation was approved mainly along party lines by a vote of 247-161.

The aid for the states is to be paid for mostly by closing a tax loophole used by multinational corporations and by reducing food stamp benefits for the poor.

Obama, joined by teachers at a Rose Garden ceremony earlier in the day, said, “We can’t stand by and do nothing while pink slips are given to the men and women who educate our children or keep our communities safe.”

The Senate narrowly passed the measure last Thursday, after the House had begun its August break.

The legislation provides $10 billion to school districts to rehire laid-off teachers or to ensure that more teachers won’t be let go before the new school year begins. The Education Department estimates that could save 160,000 jobs.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said his department would streamline the application process to get the money to local school districts quickly. He said three-fourths of the nation’s districts have said they would be opening the school year with fewer teachers and “we wanted to avert a crisis for this year.”

An additional $16 billion would extend for six months increased Medicaid payments to the states. That would free money for states to meet other budget priorities, including keeping more than 150,000 police officers and other public workers on the payroll.

Some three-fifths of states have already factored in the federal money in drawing up their budgets for the current fiscal year. The National Governors Association, in a letter to congressional leaders, said the states’ estimated budget shortfall for the 2010-12 period is $116 billion, and the extended Medicaid payments are “the best way to help states bridge the gap between their worst fiscal year and the beginning of recovery.”

Not all governors were on board. Mississippi Republican Haley Barbour said his state would have to rewrite its budget and would have to spend $50 million to $100 million to get its additional $98 million in education grants.

The $26 billion package is small compared to previous efforts to right the flailing economy through federal spending. But with the election approaching, the political stakes were high.

“Teachers, nurses and cops should not be used as pawns in a cynical political game” resulting from “the Democratic majority’s failure to govern responsibly,” said Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif.

“Where do the bailouts end?” asked Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio. “Are we going to bail out states next year and the year after that, too? At some point we’ve got to say, ‘Enough is enough.’”

But Democratic Rep. Jay Inslee said his state of Washington would get funds to keep 3,000 teachers. Republicans, he said, “think those billions of dollars for those corporate loopholes is simply more important than almost 3,000 teachers and classrooms in the state of Washington.”

Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., said Republicans ignore the fact that the law would not add to the federal deficit. “They want to do everything in their power to make certain that President Obama can’t get this country going again. I think in November they are going to find it was a dumb policy.”

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 4 months ago

"Republicans saw it differently, calling the bill a giveaway to teachers’ unions"

How is it a giveaway? The teachers (and police) aren't just getting a free ride. They're going to have to show up at their jobs and do the work in order to get paid. It's certainly much less of a giveaway than the salaries, benefits and perks these Republican legislators get from their government checks.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 4 months ago

I take it that you support allowing the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans expire, and the closing of all foreign US bases, especially those in Iraq and Afghanistan, which would allow for an 80% reduction in war spending, the single biggest hunk of federal spending?

Godot 4 years, 4 months ago

And what will the current occupant do for an encore?

"FORTUNE -- The Great Depression. Wall Street in 1987. Japan in 1997. Points of economic collapse are generally crystal clear in the rear-view mirror. Professional politicians in Japan have been telling stories for 20 years as to why they can prevent economic stagnation. In the US, the storytelling started in 2007. All the while, stock market and real-estate prices have repeatedly rallied to lower-highs, then collapsed again, to lower-lows.

Despite the many differences between Japan and the US, there is one similarity that continues to matter most in the risk management model my colleagues and I use at Hedgeye, our research firm -- debt as a percentage of GDP. Now that the US can't cut interest rates any lower, the only option left on the table is what the Fed just announced it would start doing -- buying Treasury debt. And that could lead the country to the brink of collapse: According to economists Carmen Reinhart & Ken Rogoff, whose views we share, crossing the 90% debt/GDP threshold is the equivalent of crossing the proverbial Rubicon of economic growth. It's a point from which it's almost impossible to return.

http://money.cnn.com/2010/08/11/news/eco....

JoseWasabi 4 years, 4 months ago

Buying votes! Propping the unions who contribute to the corrupt and buy television ads for the corrupt during campaigns. America - wake up. VOTE THEM ALL OUT

PattiPlatypus 4 years, 4 months ago

God forbid we actually try to educate children... those $30,000 to $40,000 a year teacher salaries are gonna mean economic collapse for the United States...Never mind that those Congressional folks (who do real work how many weeks out of the year?) rake in an average of $174,000. I'm mean, really, how DARE we pay those worthless educators so much to teach overcrowded classrooms, full of kids who are mostly disrespectful greedy loudmouths similar to their Brownback supporting parents, or abused and neglected meth parent kids who serve to point out how polarized people are these days, and how incredibly HUGE the gap is between socioeconomic classes. I think the best idea is to say to heck with education and see how ignorance works... HA!

1029 4 years, 4 months ago

More big government. We had the opportunity to trim 300,000 police and teachers and once again the democrats decide to take a step closer to socialism instead.

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