The House passed a $26 billion bill providing aid to cash-strapped state governments and their school districts on Tuesday, a move that was expected as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called representatives back from summer recess early to specifically approve the legislation.
The Senate passed the bill late last week, but the House was not expected to be back in session until mid-September. Now the bill goes to President Obama, who already promised his signature. It is expected to be signed into law as early as Tuesday evening.
"We can't stand by and do nothing while pink slips are given to the men and women who educate our children," Obama said at a White House press conference Tuesday morning.
The measure, passed in a 247 to 161 vote, provides $10 billion to retain roughly 161,000 teachers and 158,000 public works employees who would have otherwise been let go due to current school budget constraints. It also allocates $16 billion in aid through an increase in the federal contribution toward Medicaid costs.
The vote was, not surprisingly, down party lines. Democrats supported the president and asserted that bill effectively paid for itself through government spending cuts and a provision to close a tax loophole. Republicans opposed the legislation, believing it further promotes frivolous bailouts.
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) argued the "American people don't want more stimulus spending."
To find out more specifics on the contents of the new bill, check out this MainStreet article ‘Senate Bill Aims to Halt Teacher Layoffs.”