Cash-strapped states can finally breathe a sigh of relief—help is on the way.
Last week, after months of stalling by Senate Republicans, the Senate was finally able to pass a $26 billion jobs bill that will save more than 900,000 jobs of state and local teachers, nurses, firefighters and other workers facing layoffs. And yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brought back the House of Representatives for an emergency session, where it passed by a vote of 247 to 161, and was quickly signed into law by President Obama.
The victory is especially important for the nation’s schools, which have seen class sizes swell while thousands of teachers have confronted the threat of layoffs.
President Obama put it best at yesterday’s Rose Garden press conference:
We can’t stand by and do nothing while pink slips are given to the men and women who educate our children and keep our communities safe.
Opponents of the bill have done their best to demonize public employees and their unions, so it’s time to set the record straight again. Wall Street is responsible for the mess we’re in—not the working people who tirelessly serve our communities. And as the economic recovery stalls, lawmakers must act to ensure that it’s not working families who pay the price.
If we’re serious about getting our economy back on track, we can’t let the budget deficit red herring distract us from this simple reality: what’s good for working people—public employees included—is good for consumer spending, and what’s good for consumer spending is good for our economy.