Covering Washington politics. From our vantage point. One day a time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

President Halts Teacher Layoffs. Signs Emergency Jobs Bill

President Obama signed an emergency $26 billion jobs bill that the administration claims will save the jobs of 300,000 teachers, police and others service professionals from layoffs.

President Obama Signing Jobs Bill. Secretary Arne Duncan (right of president) and two teachers (near right) looks on.  Photo/White House.
In a ceremony in the Rose Garden today, President Obama said, "If we do nothing, these educators won’t be returning to the classroom this fall. And that won’t just deprive them of a paycheck, it will deprive the children and parents who are counting on them to provide a decent education."

Students in the District of Columbia know that many of their teachers won't be returning to their classrooms this fall.  More than 300 teachers have been fired at the hands of school Chancellor Michelle Rhee who claim the teachers underperformed.

In a conference call with reporters late this afternoon Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stated that the jobs bill will benefit all states, including the District of Columbia.

"We're eager to work with schools in D.C." said Duncan, who added that an additional $18 million dollars is available for D.C. public and charter schools.

Republicans, who claim the jobs bill will add to the already mounting deficit, said there is no money to fund such a measure, but Duncan assuredly stated that the bill (designed to provide $10 billion to fund education and $16 billion to fund Medicaid) "will not add one nickel to the deficit."

Likewise, President Obama explained the bill "is fully paid for, in part by closing tax loopholes that encourage corporations to ship American jobs overseas. So it will not add to our deficit."

While it may not add to the deficit, some say it will take money away from other essential programs like the Food Stamp program, or  reward those in organized labor.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called members of the House back from a summer recess to a special session in order to get the votes needed to pass the legislation.

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