Just a little over an hour ago, I wrote that the likely scenario for the war supplemental is that it will be stripped of any social spending and passed, ostensibly with Republican support if they can make it as clean as possible. Progressives didn’t really have a choke point with this bill. If it couldn’t pass with, for example, the education jobs fund that the House put in, they could always just strip that and use Republican votes. Sure enough…
House Democratic leaders will accept the Senate’s plan to pass a stripped-down supplemental spending bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while seeking another vehicle for money to prevent the layoffs of some 140,000 teachers, a well-informed House aide said Monday.
The decision reflects the reality that Democrats lack the votes in the Senate to attach billions of dollars in help for states to keep teachers on the payroll this fall.
The teacher money is a top priority for Speaker Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., and House Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey , D-Wis.
But not as big a priority as funding the wars, I guess.
Pelosi and Obey make some nods to inserting the teacher funding into a separate bill, like a revived tax extenders package, but I would say the chances of that happening are between slim and none. And so literally hundreds of thousands of teachers will pay the price of additional job cuts, because we had to fight 100 or so Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. That’s the functional trade-off here.
While the Presidential veto threat because of how the education jobs were paid for didn’t exactly help matters, it seems that this was purely an ideological play. Like the previous sentence says, the education jobs fund was offset. That didn’t matter. Republican obstructionists and some Democrats were just ideologically opposed to helping state budgets and preventing teacher layoffs. I don’t know another way to read it.
The stimulus from helping the jobless with unemployment benefits, to the tune of about $33 billion dollars (covering close to a trillion dollar annual shortfall), will be all the stimulus coming from this Congress for the rest of the year.