Congress today finally gave its approval to the education jobs package, which provides $10 billion to help states stave off layoffs and rehire teachers. The measure passed on a vote of 247-161. The next stop is for President Obama to sign the bill, which he has championed.
Read more about the debate, and how the money will be used, here.
The bill includes a nearly $12 billion cut to food stamps, a $50 million cutto Striving Readers, an adolescent literacy program, a $10.7 million cut to Ready to Teach, a telecommunications program for teachers, and an $82 million cut to student financial aid administration. The measure also includes $16 billion in Medicaid funding to states.
On the floor, Republicans, including Rep. John Kline of Minnesota, the top Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee, asked how long Congress could continue to prop up states and K-12 schools. (He even gave the bill a grade of F.) And some Democratic lawmakers expressed angst about the food stamp cut, which won’t go into effect until 2014.
School districts and states are already preparing to use the funds. For instance, the Broward County school district in Florida plans to rehire some of the teachers it laid off.
But in South Carolina, education department spokesman Jim Foster told me that the money is likely to prevent future layoffs, not necessarily bring back those who were already let go.