School Upgrades in Obama’s Jobs Bill in Jeopardy

2011 American Jobs Act logoLast month, President Obama went before Congress with a $447 billion jobs proposal that included tax cuts and new government spending, all designed to revive an economy that is still festering in a recessionary lull.

While there was some initial conciliatory language from the opposition party — Speaker John A. Boehner said in a statement that “The proposals the president outlined tonight merit consideration” — as one would expect from a town where agreeing is equivalent to sacrilege, the proposal was struck down in the Senate. The bill got 50 votes, well short of the necessary 60 to pass. There were two dissenting Democrats, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Jon Tester of Montana.

Some economists estimate the bill could create between 1.3 million to 1.9 million jobs in 2012. But it appears all for naught, since it included tax increases on the wealthy, which seemed to get Republicans riled up the most.

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DREAM Act Stalls in the Senate

Immigration Protest Supporters failed to get the 60 Senate votes needed to force the DREAM act into legislation with a super-majority this weekend, essentially defeating the bill for at least several years. Proponents of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act secured only 55 votes.

Although the bill once had bipartisan support, Republicans have come to oppose the bill as the struggle over immigration policy has become a heated issue. Prominent Republicans who once backed the bill but ultimately voted against it include Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX), Orrin Hatch (UT) and John McCain (AZ). The incoming Republican-led House is unlikely to pass the bill after January first, and the Democrats in the Senate will have an even slimmer majority.

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House Passes Bill to Save Teachers

save-the-teachers-bill-passesStudents may be looking forward to slightly smaller classes than previously feared this fall. In a special session that interrupted the summer recess, the House of Representatives passed a $26 billion bill this afternoon. The bill will save an estimated 160,000 public jobs, particularly teachers and emergency-response workers. The bill will be signed into the law this evening by President Obama.

Although the bill should not add to the national deficit, Republican leaders declared it fiscally irresponsible. It has also been criticized as pandering to teachers unions. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fl, called the bill a “transparent handout to the teachers union” financed by “sham accounting gimmicks.” Read the rest of this entry »

Senate Creates New Bill to Save Teaching Jobs [UPDATED]

Congress-creates-new-teachers-billUPDATE: House Passes Bill to Save Teachers. (8/10/10 5:00 PM)

UPDATE: The Senate passed the $26 billion bill to keep states from cutting an estimated 300,000 public service jobs, including teachers. (8/5/10 1:55 PM)

Twenty-two billion dollars for domestic spending, including educational funds, were cut from the war funding bill passed by the House on July 27th. But a new bill with $10 billion to save educator jobs was created by the senate yesterday, along with $16 billion for Federal Medical Assistance Percentages. The bill is expected to be passed by the senate today, and then will go to the House for approval. Nancy Pelosi stated that she will interrupt the House’s summer recess to vote on the bill.

Many states are rejoicing over the unanticipated funds. “This amendment will allow Washington state to avoid layoffs, service cuts or tax increases and it will make sure our children don’t walk through the schoolhouse door this September to larger class sizes and fewer subjects,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who introduced the measure. Although Maine’s two Republican senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, voted to move the legislation forward, most members of the GOP are against the bill. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., fears the funding will create a “permanent need for future state bailouts.”
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College Football’s BCS Under Attack by Congressmen

bcsIt is a rare thing to watch a sport come under attack; at least it used to be. Recently, the United States Congress has become decidedly interested in the sport of college football, and I don’t mean of a particular team either. Instead, Congress is looking at the legitimacy of the Bowl Championship Series.

The argument made by Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Rep. Joe Barton of Texas states that the BCS goes against everything our country stands for and is a biased method of deciding the two best college football teams. Read the rest of this entry »


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