Home Budget, Economy Will Frank Wolf Step Up?

Will Frank Wolf Step Up?

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Yesterday, the Senate voted 61-38 on an amendment  to extend $26.1 billion in state aid to prevent the layoffs of school teachers and public safety workers around the Country.

That’s great news: at a time when schools are already strapped and our families are worried about their children’s future, we can’t afford another increase in class sizes. By directing $10 billion directly to schools, this amendment will prevent as many as 140,000 teachers from losing their jobs, avoiding class size spikes all around the Country…and here in the 10th District.

Even better, the amendment saves jobs and class sizes while actually decreasing the deficit by $1.37 billion, according to a CBO report. That’s how policymaking should happen: legislators prioritized government spending and offset new costs with appropriate adjustments to other programs and revenue sources.    

So, where are the Republicans on this bill? With sad predictability, they’re opposing it. Minority Leader Boehner’s spokesman has already attacked the bill, characterizing it as a “special interest bailout” Since when is keeping class sizes down or police officers on the street some kind of “special interest?” These are our kid we’re talking about. These are our firemen, our police officers, our communities. Ransoming our children’s futures and our public safety for political gain is the worst kind of cynicism.

In addition to direct aid for schools, this package saves a number of critically endangered public service functions. By assuming a slightly higher percentage of Medicaid costs, the federal government has given state legislatures the ability to redirect funds to save crucial services that, right now, are on the chopping blocks all across the country.  Here’s Senator Reid, quoted in the New York Times:

“We saved people’s jobs. The bill…keeps hundreds of thousands of teachers, firefighters, policemen and other civil employees from being fired or laid off.”

That sounds like a pretty good deal to me, and it’s a good deal for the American people. This package is the definition of fiscal responsibility. As long as Republicans continue to oppose a bill that saves jobs and reduces the deficit, they have no credibility campaigning on fiscal responsibility, let alone job creation.

Speaker Pelosi has called the House back into session to consider the amendment, and it will be interesting to see how Mr. Wolf votes on this package. Although he voted for the initial bill to which this amendment is attached, he has a terrible record on jobs issues this session: he voted against unemployment relief and voted against investing billions in job growth… twice. Hopefully he will reverse that regrettable trend by voting to reduce the deficit and keep teachers, police officers, and firemen on the job and out of the unemployment line.

Make no mistake, Mr. Wolf – a vote against this bill is a vote against the kids in our classrooms and the safety of our streets. Will you vote along ideological lines? Or will you buck your party trend, demonstrate some real leadership, and stand up for our kids?

The 10th District is watching.