Obama, Congress enact Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act

President Obama signed a bill Tuesday that is expected to save 300,000 jobs nationwide, including 161,000 teaching jobs, as well as preserve nearly $2 billion in federal assistance for Medi-Cal for six months. H.R. 1586, the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act, passed the House by a 247-161 vote with the support of only two Republicans. While Democrats saw the bill as a chance to save jobs for the upcoming school year, the majority of Republicans considered it wasteful and catering to teacher unions.
On a state level, it is anticipated that the Act will keep 16,500 California teachers in classrooms, but what impact the aid will have on schools and teachers more locally is still not clear.
“We don’t have any idea of how that funding will break down locally yet,” said Teachers Association of Long Beach (TALB) President Michael Day. “But it will definitely prevent layoffs next year and should be able to bring back a lot of our folks that were laid off this year.”
Congresswoman Laura Richardson, who represents the state’s 37th District, which includes Long Beach and Signal Hill, voted in favor of the bill and believes the new law will save 546 education jobs.
“In a district where 23.8 percent of the population (approximately 160,000 youth between the ages of 5 and 18) are children, the recent announcement of pink slips was a frightening thought to the many children, parents, teachers and administrators who have seen education take a backseat in the recovery,” Richardson said. “For the 304 teacher families in Long Beach, the 175 teacher families in Compton and the 66 teacher families that serve Carson and Watts, the elimination of these jobs would not have only been felt in the classroom, but in the empty grocery stores, unpaid mortgages and local supporting businesses hanging by a thread.”
The Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act will be funded through spending cuts and the closure of corporate tax loopholes. Much of the language in the bill associated with the closure of corporate tax loopholes originally appeared in the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, which passed the House in May.

Employment, News, Politics

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