Senate Democrats

How It’s Playing: Democrats Save Thousands Of Jobs Over GOP Opposition

The Senate voted yesterday to save the jobs of nearly 300,000 teachers and civil servants – and reduce the deficit along the way – even though nearly every Republican voted to fire them.  Headlines from across the country heralded Democrats’ victory over the attempted GOP filibuster as passing “key legislation on state aid [and] teachers’ jobs.”  When will Republicans stop killing jobs and start working with Democrats to get our economy back where it needs to be?



HEADLINES: DEMOCRATS OVERCOME GOP FILIBUSTER TO SAVE THOUSANDS OF JOBS


Los Angeles Times – Senate Overcomes GOP Filibuster, Votes For Aid Package To States:
“The Senate on Thursday overcame a Republican-led filibuster to advance a $26.1-billion package of state aid that would help keep nearly 140,000 teachers on the job nationwide and continue extra funding for healthcare services to low-income households during the recession.  Governors from nearly every state – including California — have sought the Medicaid healthcare funds that many had already voted in their budgets. Together the states faced a combined $12-billion deficit if the funding is not approved. Teachers also have fought to save educators from layoffs this fall.  Even though the bill was fully paid for by cuts elsewhere and closing tax loopholes, Republicans argued that the federal government should not be bailing out the states.” [Link]

Washington Post – Aid Package Aimed At Saving State Jobs Passes Key Hurdle In Senate: “An emergency plan to save the jobs of tens of thousands of public school teachers and other government workers overcame a key Senate hurdle Wednesday…  Two Republicans crossed party lines to advance the $26 billion package, handing President Obama a victory in his campaign to bolster the shaky economy. With many governors struggling to close gaping budget deficits, administration officials feared a fresh round of state layoffs or tax increases could knock the nation’s wobbly recovery off-course.” [Link]

Roll Call – Reid Notches Victory On Funding Bill: “Senate Democrats beat back nearly unified GOP opposition to a $26 billion funding measure, winning a key procedural vote Wednesday with the help of Maine Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.  The 61-38 vote to proceed to the bill was a significant victory for Majority Leader Harry Reid, who wanted to clear the measure before the August recess. Democrats said the bill, which includes funding for education and state Medicaid programs, would prevent hundreds of thousands of teachers from being laid off.” [Link]

AP – Senate Jobs Bill Clears Key Hurdle: “President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies in the Senate earned a long-sought win Wednesday as a $26 billion measure to help states and local school boards with their severe budget problems cleared a GOP filibuster.  … The bill would extend programs enacted in last year’s stimulus law to help preserve the jobs of tens of thousands of teachers and other public employees.” [Link]

Politico – Big Win For Reid On Teacher Money: “With key support from Maine Republicans, a $26.1 billion fiscal aid package for states and local governments advanced in the Senate Wednesday after Democrats agreed to offset the spending with major cuts from their own priorities — including food stamps for the poor.  Republicans are already maneuvering to raise new budget obstacles. But the 61-38 cloture vote is a major triumph for Democrats after months of partisan stalemate and breathes new life into hopes that Congress will intercede to avert threatened public school teachers this fall—a major priority for Education Secretary Arne Duncan.” [Link]

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – Federal Aid Package Clears Senate Cloture Vote: “A package of federal aid to states that would partially plug a hole in Pennsylvania’s budget and prevent thousands of layoffs passed its most difficult hurdle this morning by clearing a Senate cloture vote.  … [T]his morning’s vote was the key one. It signals to Harrisburg — and cash-strapped state capitals across the nation — that the money is almost assuredly on the way.  Without the funding…the state would have been forced to lay off 12,000 workers.” [Link]

The Hill – Dems Get Pre-Recess Victory As Senate Breaks Funding Impasse: “The long slog is all but over.  After months of trying, the Senate on Wednesday voted to end debate on legislation providing states with billions of dollars in emergency Medicaid funding through the first half of 2011.  The vote lends a pre-recess legislative victory to Democratic leaders, who have struggled for months to pass the measure under threat from the nation’s governors that a failure to do so would lead to layoffs and cuts to safety-net programs nationwide.” [Link]

Huffington Post – State Aid Clears Senate Hurdle, GOP Votes No Even Though Bill Reduces Deficit: “The Senate voted 61-38 on Wednesday to break a Republican filibuster of a bill that will provide $26 billion in aid to cash-strapped states. Republican lawmakers, who opposed previous domestic aid bills because of their deficit cost, opposed this bill even though it would reduce the deficit.  Senate Democrats said the measure would prevent states from firing 290,000 teachers, firefighters and police officers and would reduce the deficit by $1.4 billion. But it wouldn’t reduce the deficit in a way that appeals to Republicans…” [Link]

Wall Street Journal – Funding Bill For States Clears Senate Hurdle: “A measure to provide $26 billion in emergency aid to state and local governments to expand Medicaid and avoid teacher layoffs cleared a key Senate procedural hurdle Wednesday.  …The legislation would provide roughly $16 billion in funding for state governments to help them pay for rising costs stemming from an expansion of the Medicaid program, which provides health care for lower-income Americans.  … The legislation would also transfer $10 billion to local school boards to help them avert layoffs of teachers, which many economists expect could occur this autumn because of the financial straights in which many local governments find themselves.” [Link]

Daily Kos – State Aid, Teacher Funding Cloture Vote Passes: “The aid won’t actually be off to states yet as the House will have to vote on it as well, but the major hurdle has been overcome to provide the critical assistance to states to prevent layoffs of hundreds of thousands of teachers and state workers. ” [Link]

Bloomberg – State Aid Plan Seeking $26 Billion Survives Procedural Vote In U.S. Senate: “Lawmakers today voted 61-38, with 60 needed, to halt a Republican filibuster and take up the plan. Maine Republicans Senator Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe provided the decisive votes in the last week before lawmakers’ month-long August recess. Democrats have been trying to move the legislation for months, saying that failing to act would force state governments to fire thousands of teachers and other public service employees.” [Link]

Washington Monthly – Senate Passes Key Legislation On State Aid, Teachers’ Jobs: “This morning was a key test — of the Senate’s ability to address a public need, of policymakers’ commitment to the American economy, of Republican moderates’ willingness to take "yes" for an answer. ” [Link]

Christian Broadcast Network – Senate Measure to Cut Job Layoffs Advances: “Congress is getting ready to send $26 billion to help states and school districts hurting for cash. Senate Democrats broke a GOP filibuster Wednesday by 61-38 vote, setting a bill to extend programs enacted in last year’s stimulus law on pace to pass the Senate Thursday. The measure is supposed to help states ease their severe budget problems with programs like Medicaid and stop the layoffs of up to 300,000 teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other public employees.” [Link]
 


…WHILE 93 PERCENT OF SENATE REPUBLICANS VOTED AGAINST STATE FUNDING

Despite the staggering reality of the amount of state funding at stake and the number of teachers that would have lost their jobs, Senate Republicans overwhelmingly opposed this state aid.

REPUBLICAN SENATOR

FMAP STATE AID AFFECTED*

TEACHERS JOBS AFFECTED**

Alexander (R-TN)

$ 240,000,000

3,100

Barrasso (R-WY)

$ 22,000,000

200

Bennett (R-UT)

$ 57,000,000

1,800

Bond (R-MO)

$ 292,000,000

3,100

Brown (R-MA)

$ 506,000,000

2,400

Brownback (R-KS)

$ 100,000,000

1,500

Bunning (R-KY)

$ 155,000,000

2,000

Burr (R-NC)

$ 343,000,000

4,500

Chambliss (R-GA)

$ 228,000,000

4,400

Coburn (R-OK)

$ 188,000,000

1,900

Cochran (R-MS)

$ 151,000,000

1,600

Corker (R-TN)

$ 240,000,000

3,100

Cornyn (R-TX)

$ 858,000,000

13,200

Crapo (R-ID)

$ 51,000,000

800

DeMint (R-SC)

$ 138,000,000

2,200

Ensign (R-NV)

$ 79,000,000

1,200

Enzi (R-WY)

$ 22,000,000

200

Graham (R-SC)

$ 138,000,000

2,200

Grassley (R-IA)

$ 128,000,000

1,500

Gregg (R-NH)

$ 54,000,000

600

Hatch (R-UT)

$ 57,000,000

1,800

Hutchison (R-TX)

$ 858,000,000

13,200

Inhofe (R-OK)

$ 188,000,000

1,900

Isakson (R-GA)

$ 228,000,000

4,400

Johanns (R-NE)

$ 69,000,000

1,000

Kyl (R-AZ)

$ 351,000,000

3,300

LeMieux (R-FL)

$ 784,000,000

8,500

Lugar (R-IN)

$ 227,000,000

3,100

McCain (R-AZ)

$ 351,000,000

3,300

McConnell (R-KY)

$ 155,000,000

2,000

Murkowski (R-AK)

$ 64,000,000

300

Risch (R-ID)

$ 51,000,000

800

Roberts (R-KS)

$ 100,000,000

1,500

Sessions (R-AL)

$ 133,000,000

2,300

Shelby (R-AL)

$ 133,000,000

2,300

Thune (R-SD)

$ 27,000,000

500

Vitter (R-LA)

$ 375,000,000

2,200

Voinovich (R-OH)

$ 492,000,000

4,900

Wicker (R-MS)

$ 151,000,000

1,600

*Estimated Reduction in State Aid Under a Scaled-Back Extension of the FMAP Provisions in ARRA (Jan. – Jun. 2011)

Source: CBPP

**Source: National Center for Education Statistics data.

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