Washington, DC— Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Democratic Conference Secretary Patty Murray and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chair Tom Harkin joined Eric Solomon, a PTA President from Maryland, for a press conference today to discuss how Democrats fought to prevent nearly 300,000 teachers, firefighters and police officers from getting fired this fall. Senate Democrats will continue to lead the effort to move forward on legislation to save these jobs today. Nearly all Senate Republicans continue to vote for firing hundreds of thousands of professionals who keep our communities thriving and safe.
“The legislation we fought for is about our teachers, the families they need to feed and the children they inspire every day. And it’s about our civil servants, the paychecks they need to make ends meet and the communities they keep moving,” said Senator Reid. “The other side has come to work every day trying to kill jobs and make sure our economic recovery doesn’t interfere with their campaign message. But these public servants have always been there for us. The least we can do is be there for them.”
“This amendment is about saving jobs that are in immediate danger,” said Senator Murray. “It will allow us to avoid layoffs, service cuts, or tax increases and it will make sure our children don’t walk through the schoolhouse doors this September to larger class sizes and fewer subjects. I am proud that we have been able to work across the aisle to put families and communities above partisan politics.”
“This bill will prevent an unprecedented wave of teacher layoffs, and help states continue providing health care to many of our neediest citizens. It is not only fully paid for, it reduces the deficit by $1.4 billion over 10 years, in part by closing corporate tax breaks on income earned overseas – tax breaks that encourage the shifting of American jobs overseas,” said Senator Harkin. “The truth is that, with this bill, we are setting tough priorities in a very difficult budget environment. We are saying that it is our priority to keep teachers in the classroom, and to prevent the derailment of important reform efforts in our schools. To state the obvious, we can’t continue to improve our public schools if we are laying off teachers, raising class sizes, slashing programs and cutting instructional time.”
“Yesterday, after many, many months of negotiations, the Senate took a courageous step and cleared the way to provide $10 billion in funding to prevent the layoffs of approximately 140,000 teachers, said local Maryland PTA President Eric Solomon. “The education jobs package will eliminate the threat of teacher layoffs—layoffs that will negatively impact students as a result of increased class size and the possible loss of quality teachers to other professions.”