Senate Democrats

Fact Sheet: Teachers And First Responders Back To Work Act

The Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act provides $35 billion to create or protect nearly 400,000 education jobs, while preventing the layoffs of thousands of cops and firefighters. This critical legislation would help states and localities keep their schools strong and their streets safe, without adding a dime to the deficit.

 

KEY PROVISIONS:

  • $30 Billion To Create or Protect Nearly 400,000 Education Jobs. Nearly 300,000 education jobs have been lost since 2008, and state and local budget crisis will put as many as 280,000 teacher jobs at risk next year. The Senate bill will more than offset projected layoffs, providing support for nearly 400,000 education jobs.
  • $5 Billion to Keep Thousands of Police and Firefighters on the Job. State and local budget cuts have forced thousands of cops and firefighters off the beat. The Senate bill will create or save thousands of first responder jobs across the nation through competitive grants to states and localities.
  • Asking Millionaires to Pay Their Fair Share Without Adding a Dime to the Deficit. In order to create or save hundreds of thousands of teacher and first responder jobs, the Senate bill imposes a 0.5% surtax on modified adjusted gross income in excess of $1 million for both single filers and married couples filing jointly.  The surtax is effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2012.

Americans Overwhelmingly Support Funding Teacher and First Responder Jobs.  According to a Gallup Poll from last month 75 percent of Americans support “providing additional funds to hire teachers, police officers and firefighters.”

This Legislation Is Based on Jobs Programs That Republicans Have Supported:

2007: 16 Republicans Voted To Fully Fund The COPS Program. In March 2007, 16 Republican Senators – including Senators Burr, Collins, Corker, Grassley, Hatch, Hutchison, McConnell, Murkowski, Roberts, Snowe, Thune and Vitter – joined Democrats in voting for an amendment that fully funded the COPS program by moving $598 million from another Justice Department function. [Vote 110, 3/23/07]

2006: 28 Republicans Voted For Increased Education Funding. In March 2006, 28 Republicans – including Senators Alexander, Cochran, Collins, Grassley, Hatch, Hutchison, Lugar, Murkowski, Roberts, Snowe and Thune – joined Democrats in voting to increase health, education and training, and low-income programs by $7 billion. [Vote 58, 3/16/06]

2005: 18 Republicans Voted Increase Education Funding By $500 Million. In March 2005, 18 Republicans – including Senators Collins, Crapo, Hatch, Hutchison, Lugar, Shelby, Snowe and Thune – joined Democrats in voting to add $500 million in education funding by diverting it from other programs. [Vote 56, 3/16/05]

2004: 49 Republicans Voted To Help States By Implementing Mandatory IDEA Funding Increases. In May 2004, 49 Republican Senators joined Democrats in voting for an amendment that required IDEA funding to increase by $2.3 billion each year for the next 7 years. [Vote 92, 5/12/04]

2001: 29 Republicans Voted To Fully Fund Grants To Local School Districts Under No Child Left Behind. In May 2001, 20 Republicans – including Senators Cochran, Collins, Crapo, Grassley, Hatch, Hutchison, Lugar, McCain, McConnell, Roberts, Sessions, Shelby and Snowe – joined Democrats in voting for an amendment to authorize full funding of grants to local school districts under Title 1 for ten years. [Vote 91, 5/3/01]

Sen. McConnell Said He Was “Proud to Have Played A Part In Securing Funds” For Emergency Responders. In a press release, Sen. McConnell said “This grant will support the efforts of the Lawrenceburg firefighters who risk their lives in service to others. I am proud to have played a part in securing funds for this vehicle to help ensure that the firefighters are adequately prepared to respond to emergencies.” [Press Release, 5/10/10]

Sen. Alexander Said Federal Funds Gave Firefighters The Resources They Needed to Save Lives. In a press release, Sen. Alexander said “This grant will help give the firefighters in Pikeville the vital resources they need to save lives. I appreciate the Department of Homeland Security’s investment in emergency preparedness, and I will continue to work to ensure that fire departments in Tennessee are ready and able to keep our citizens safe.” [Press Release, 7/30/09]

Sen. Barrasso Called Firefighters “Instrumental to Keeping Our Communities Safe and Secure.” In a press release, Sen. Barrasso said “Firefighters are instrumental to keeping our communities safe and secure.” [Press Release, 7/7/08]

Sen. Blunt Pledged to Fight For Funding For Kansas City Fire Fighters. “Sen. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, said the decision would ‘greatly disadvantage’ Kansas City. ‘We will continue working to call attention to this problem in order to ensure Kansas City receives the funding it needs,’ Blunt said.” [Kansas City Star, 5/21/11]

Sen. Boozman Said Federal Funding Gives Firefighters “The Tools They Need” In a press release, Sen. Boozman said “With the economic constraints many of our communities are experiencing, grants like this provide additional resources to protect Arkansans. This grant will help provide our firefighters the tools they need to stay safe while serving the community.” [Press Release, 7/29/10]

Sen. Scott Brown Said We Owe It To Firefighters “To Provide The Financial Resources To Keep Them Safe” In a press release, Sen. Brown said “Every day, our hardworking firefighters risk their lives to keep our families and communities safe, and we owe it to them to provide the financial resources to keep them safe in their incredibly dangerous jobs.” [Press Release, 5/8/10]

Sen. Burr Said Money To Hire More Firefighters Would Improve Safety, Response Times. “Firefighters risk their lives every day to help others. This grant will allow the Chapel Hill Fire Department to hire additional personnel which will improve firefighter safety and enhance emergency response times.” [Press Release, 10/19/06]

Sen. Cochran Was “Pleased” Federal Emergency Funding Went to Emergency Responders. In a Press Release, Sen. Cochran said “Municipal and volunteer fire departments apply for this federal assistance to improve their capacity to protect the public.  I am pleased that these resources will be used to enhance fire protection in our state.” [Press Release, 4/19/10]

Sen. Collins Said “In Every Case” Federal Firefighter Funding Eases Local Financial Burdens While Advancing The National Interest. In a column, Sen. Collins said “In many cases, these federal dollars enable a community’s department to obtain equipment it simply couldn’t afford on its own. And in every case, the federal grants ease local financial burdens while advancing the national interest in having first responders as prepared as possible for all disasters, whether natural or man-made.” [Press Release, 8/19/11]

Sen. Corker Said He Knows How Important It is That Firefighters Have the Best Possible Resources. In a press release, Sen. Corker said “Firefighters perform a tremendous public service, and as a former mayor I know firsthand how important it is that they have the best possible resources.” [Press Release, 7/30/09]

Sens. Cornyn and Hutchison Said It Is Vital That First Responders Have the Financial Support They Need Without Delay. In a letter to President Obama, Sens. Cornyn and Hutchison said “It is vital that first responders have the financial resources to support emergency protective measures to save lives, protect property and maintain the public’s health and safety. We ask that this be done now without delay.” [Press Release, 9/16/11]

Sen. Murkowski Took Credit for COPS and Law Enforcement Grants. “Through a funding measure signed into law July 29, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski was able to add provisions to the Tribal Law and Order Act that allows villages the same access to funding that cities and towns have long known. On Thursday, President Barack Obama signed a measure into law that now allows the State of Alaska, tribes and tribal organizations to fund VPSO positions with two different grants: Community Oriented Policing, or COPS grants, and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grants. Currently, VPSO positions are funded by the Alaska Department of Public Safety or through congressional earmarks. ‘The VPSOs are the police department, the fire department, the EMS and search and rescue all rolled into one,’ Murkowski said. ‘It is only fair that rural Alaska Native communities have the same access to public safety funds that communities and cities across America have.’” [Homer Tribune, 11/4/10]

Sen. Wicker Said Federal Emergency Funding Ensured Firefighters Had the Resources to Do Their Jobs. In a press release, Sen. Wicker said “Mississippi’s firefighters – many of them volunteers – are on the front lines when it comes to keeping people safe.  This important grant program ensures our firefighters have the resources to continue doing their jobs and protecting the public in emergency situations.” [Press Release, 4/19/10]

Sen. Kirk Said It Was “Imperative” That Emergency Responders “Are Always Properly Equipped and Staffed” In a press release, Sen. Kirk said “Like cities across America, the City of Waukegan has been grappling with serious financial issues in the wake of the Great Recession. It is imperative that our emergency responders are always properly equipped and staffed to keep our communities safe. I know Waukegan city officials–as well as the city’s residents–are grateful the Department of Homeland Security selected the City of Waukegan to receive these funds.” [Press Release, 6/1/11]

Sen. DeMint Was “Pleased” With Grants To Help South Carolina Hire More Fire Fighters. In a press release, Sen. DeMint said “South Carolina’s firefighters risk their lives to protect our families every day. I’m pleased they have been awarded these competitive grants that will assist in hiring more firefighters.” [Press Release, 12/28/06]

Sen. Enzi Said Local Firefighters Deserve Federal Funding For Best Resources Possible. In a press release, Sen. Enzi said “Local firefighters put their lives on the line to protect those they serve, and they should have access to the best resources possible. I am pleased that Campbell County Fire Department will be receiving this money to purchase the equipment they need to keep themselves and our communities safe.” [Press Release, 11/20/08]

Sen. Graham Said Federal Funds Will Help Local Fire Departments. “‘Firefighters and emergency service personnel dedicate themselves to protecting the health and safety of South Carolinians,’ said U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, grants. ‘These grants will help our local fire departments and rescue squads by providing them the means to obtain the best equipment and training available.’” [Anderson Independent-Mail, 2/13/10]

Sen. Grassley Said It Was Important For First Responders To Be Adequately Staffed. In a press release, Sen. Grassley said “As the community’s first responders, it’s important that the Urbandale Fire Department be properly trained and adequately staffed. This funding will be used to recruit and retain firefighters to help keep Urbandale secure.” [Press Release, 3/29/10]

Sen. Heller Said Providing First Responders With Necessary Resources is “Vital” In a press release, Heller said “Fire Departments are often the first to arrive in crisis situations. Providing them with the resources necessary for training is vital when every second counts. First responders are critical to the safety of every community and I am pleased this funding has been made available to the Reno Fire Department” [Press Release, 11/1/07]

Sen. Inhofe Said Federal Funding Helped Provide Necessary Resources for First Responders. In a press release, Sen. Inhofe said “These grants help provide the tools and resources necessary to protect the health and safety of Oklahoma firefighters and the Oklahomans they serve and protect. These awards will be used to increase the firefighting operations, fund fire fighter health and safety programs, acquire new fire apparatus, enhance EMS programs, and conduct fire prevention and safety programs.” [Press Release, 10/30/03]

Sen. Isakson Called Federal Funding “Welcome News” For Emergency Personnel. In a press release, Sen. Isakson said “I am grateful for the heroic efforts of the emergency personnel and the firefighters who battled this unwieldy and fast-spreading fire and protected our citizens. This funding is welcome news.” [Press Release, 12/3/07]

Sen. Lugar Called First Responders “The Backbone of Our Communities” In a press release, Sen. Lugar said “First responders are the backbone of our communities and it is vital to ensure they have the proper equipment and training.” [Press Release, 2/11/10]

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