by Brian Washington, photo courtesy of alcebal2002
Members of the U.S. Senate have missed an opportunity to put children first by failing to move forward on President Obama’s American Jobs Act. But lawmakers say the fight is not over.
Senate Republicans blocked the legislation from action on the Senate floor Tuesday evening. This was lawmakers’ first crack at passing a bill that would have returned educators back to work, prevented hundreds of thousands of educator layoffs, modernized public schools nationwide, and prevented students from being forced into overcrowded classrooms.
“The Senate’s failure to move forward on the President’s American Jobs Act is ill timed and short sighted,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “This legislation is about more than saving educators’ jobs—it’s also about securing the future for our students and our nation.”
News about the bill’s fate in the Senate follows several well publicized trips to Ohio, Texas and Colorado by President Obama to drum up support for the legislation. This week, the President visited Pennsylvania, where he said the bill draws upon proposals supported by both Democrats and Republicans.
“It’s a jobs bill that is entirely paid for by asking those of us who’ve been most fortunate, who’ve been incredibly blessed here in America to contribute a little more to the country that contributed so much to our success,” said the President, who addressed a union local in Pittsburgh.
Todd Smeltz is a Pennsylvania educator who teaches in the Upper Dauphin School District. Budget cuts are hitting his school pretty hard.
“It saddens me to teach in these times after 22 years of experience,” said Smeltz. “I see a quality education in our district disintegrating because of a political agenda against public education.”
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are indicating that the American Jobs bill will resurface but in a different form. Instead of one complete package, Democratic leaders in the Senate are expected to break the bill up and try to push it through the Senate in several different pieces—two of which will focus on education jobs and money for school modernization.
The school modernization piece will likely move in the form of the Fix America’s Schools Today (FAST) Act. This bill will provide the urgently needed resources for school and campus repair and modernization.
This fight is not over! Email your lawmakers in the U.S. Senate and urge them to support the Fix America’s Schools Today (FAST) Act!