Yesterday, Congress officially passed an emergency spending bill—without the edujobs money. Right now, there just doesn’t seem to be a legislative vehicle for the $10 billion that supporters say is needed to help prevent hundreds of thousands of layoffs around the country. That despite fervent lobbying efforts by education organizations.
As we mentioned earlier, advocates were eyeing legislation giving aid to small businesses as a potential next vehicle for the education jobs funding, but it’s not clear if that’s going to work out.
The jobs money is stuck partly because of opposition from moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats in the Senate. The reasons include the bill’s price tag, not just those controversial offsets involving high-profile Obama administration education priorities.
One of the bill’s key House champions explained the situation this way:
“The Senate is completely dysfunctional on these issues,” Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., said in an interview today with National Journal.
Miller said in the same interview that work will continue on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act through August, and that he wants to be “be ready” to advance the bill, if possible, during a potential lame-duck session, which would take place after the 2010 midterm elections.
Yesterday, I asked Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee,about the timing on ESEA renewal, which has been pending since 2007. He said he wasn’t sure whether the legislation would move this year, but also emphasized that discussions continue. And, like Miller, he held out the possibility of getting the bill through in a lame-duck session. That seems like a long shot to me, considering the bill hasn’t been considered by either committee yet, but anything is possible...