Washington, DC—Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks at a press conference today after Senate Democrats led the effort to move forward on an amendment to prevent mass layoffs of teachers and first responders across the nation. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“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.
“These jobs aren’t important just because we want to keep unemployment from rising. They are important because of what these jobs mean to our economy, our society, our safety and our future.
“Teachers are not the only ones who lose out when they lose their jobs. Today we also voted for the students they teach, mentor, help and inspire. When save teachers’ jobs, we strengthen our future.
“When our children start a new school year this fall, their classrooms will be less crowded and there will be a teacher at the blackboard. That’s what today’s vote promises.
“And if there are fewer police or firefighters on call – or even on the job – we are all less safe.
“When a crime is committed or a fire breaks out in one of our neighborhoods, a police officer or firefighter will be there to help. That’s what this vote was about.
“And every last cent of it is paid for – so this bill saves jobs and saves money.
“This week is not over yet. We will keep going. We can come together to create half a million jobs in small businesses, the engines that run our economy.
“I’m grateful that Senators Snowe and Collins did the right thing today for the teachers and public safety officials in their state and across our country.
“But 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.”