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House returns from recess to pass state aid bill

August 10, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The House came back from their August recess today to vote on the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act, which the Senate passed last Thursday, after the House had already adjourned. It gives states $26.1 billion to help pay for Medicaid and teachers’ salaries. Since both chambers passed the exact same version of the bill, it was immediately enrolled by Speaker Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8] and sent directly to Obama, who has already signed it into law.

The vote was a near-party-line 247-161. Two Republicans crossed the aisle to vote for the bill with the Democrats — Rep. Anh Cao [R, LA-2] and Rep. Michael Castle [R, DE-0]. Three Democrats, all members of the conservative Blue Dog Coalition, voted with Republicans against the bill — Rep. Bobby Bright [D, AL-2], Rep. Jim Cooper [D, TN-5] and Rep. Gene Taylor [D, MS-4]. Twenty-five congressmen didn’t take the time out of the recess to return to D.C. and vote on the bill, including 7 Democrats and 18 Republicans.

According to the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers,161,000 teacher layoffs will be averted by the bill. Furthermore, the left-of-center Economic Policy Institute estimates that the Medicaid portion of the bill could save up to 158,000 jobs.

The bill is fully offset — meaning that it will not add to the deficit — by cutting $11.9 billion to food stamps (bringing the program back to pre-Recovery Act levels), closing a tax loophole that U.S. companies use to operate tax-free in other countries, and $6.7 billion in recessions from Recovery Act programs, the Defense budget, and other areas. In total, the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the bill found that it would save the federal government $1.37 billion over the next ten years.

Still, as evidenced by the vote results, Republicans were not impressed with it at all. This morning, House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner [R, OH-8] took to the podium to attach what has proven to be one of the most politically-poisonous labels to the bill — he called it a “bailout.”

“Everyone knows that state budgets have been hit hard and no one wants teachers or police officers to lose their jobs,” Boehner said. “But where do the bailouts end? Are we going to bail out states next year and the year after that too? At some point we’ve got to say ‘enough is enough.”

Now that the Dems have finally gotten this job-saving measure all taken care of, the question is will they be able to move on legislation that is actually designed to create new jobs for the 20 million or so unemployed people in this country. Senate Dems have been trying since late June to overcome a GOP-lead filibuster of the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act, but are still three votes short.

The bill would allow the Treasury Department to lend $30 billion to small banks with incentives designed to encourages the banks to then loan the money out to small businesses that are looking to expand and hire. Banks taking loans from the Treasury under the bill would pay a dividend of only 1% if they increase small business lending above 2009 levels by 10% or more. If they decrease lending, they would have to pay dividends of up to 7%. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill would have a positive net impact on the deficit of $1.1 billion over ten years.

When the Senate returns in September, the small business bill is expected to be one of the top items on their agenda. But with everything else they want to do — e.g. energy, immigration, appropriations, campaign finance — it could easily get abandoned if they can’t make any progress after the recess in rounding up the three votes they need to break the filibuster.

Pictured above are several members of the House Democratic leadership, and a couple school children, at the bill enrollment ceremony today.

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  • Moderated Comment

  • frukit 08/11/2010 5:21am

    Does Anyone In Our Government Know That We Need: Roads Repaired, Bridges Repaired, A New Alternative Energy System Built, Exsisting Power Plants Repaired, New Nuclear Power Plants Built, Water Treatment Plants Built And / Or Upgraded, Billions of Dollars Spent On INFRASTRUCTURE Of These United States.Do You Think That It Would Be Hard, For Our Elected Officials To Take The Necessary Steps, To Employ AMERICANS To WORK On OUR OWN COUNTRY.We Do Have To Live Here,You Know!!-BILLIONS FOR THE WAR MACHINE, NO MONEY FOR THE HOME TEAM ?

  • fizzlesquirt 08/11/2010 5:26am

    This bill does nothing, but force the states to take money to give to the corrupt teachers’ union and keep us dependent on the government (i.e. medicaid). It is indeed a bailout. The fact that the money is offset by reducing funds for food stamps does not impress.

    They should be working on jobs creation for the private sector, stopping illegal immigration (no amnesty), and stop sending money to terrorist countries that hate America. This administration is slowly destroying the America I used to know and love. Come November, I will be making my voice known with my vote.

  • Comm_reply
    twistfinger 08/11/2010 1:33pm

    In my opinion, you are stupid.

  • lremmell64 08/11/2010 7:03am

    Why when I go to view the actual text of the Bill, the link takes me to a bill labeld H.R. 1586 a bill for Air Traffic control. It should take me to the bill concerning for State Aid for jobs.

  • eavina30 08/11/2010 8:18am

    Tier 5 to Survive, In November we will Remember

  • melessee 08/11/2010 9:21am

    Nice, 5 of 25 no-shows were from Florida. I’m so proud.

  • craines 08/11/2010 12:12pm

    Our Teachers in this country should be supported and just because there Union people don’t seem to like it. They should have a good pay package with health issue and a pension.

    After all they teaching our next generation of Americans. The republican party would let use all sink and die slowly while they line there pockets with all the contributions they can.

    Democrats are not much better but at least they will let us eat and they want us to work and have a pension with good union paying jobs.


  • Comm_reply
    maineiacgirl 08/11/2010 3:00pm

    They have pensions far more generous than the rest of us craines…

    Maybe you should do some research and pick up a dictionary….learn some basic spelling and English rules.

    Maybe then you will have some valuable input.

  • maineiacgirl 08/11/2010 2:58pm

    Isn’t it funny ….the only person here defending this action is so stupid they can’t spell simple words.

    We really need to get together and do something about our elected politicians before it’s too late

    This is out of control

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