Authors: Joshua Cohan
(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Democrats on Monday announced the first piece of President Obama’s jobs bill that they will take up – a $35 billion aid package to help state and local governments provide funding for teachers, police officers and firefighters. They say the package would create or save approximately 400,000 jobs.
Thirty billion dollars of that total would be invested to help avoid teacher layoffs and hire more teachers in schools.
“Nearly 300,000 teacher jobs...are at risk and so is the quality of our education system,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV., announced on the Senate floor Monday. “Unless school districts get a helping hand, many more will be forced to make more difficult choices, between laying off educators, going without school books, paper and other supplies. Democrats will pursue the president's plan to keep teachers and support staff where they belong, in the classroom.”
The rest of the money -- $5 billion -- would be invested to retain police, firefighters and first responders.
“Our communities cannot afford to lose the men and women who keep us safe and secure, and our nation cannot afford to lose the competitive edge the world-class education system gives us in a constantly changing world,” Reid said.
The measure would be paid for by the 0.5-percent tax on millionaires. Reid indicated each next piece taken up on the jobs bill would also be paid for by the millionaires surtax.
Reid will introduce the bill on the floor Monday and will decide in the next day or two when voting will happen.
Reid says he will take up one piece of the jobs bill per week.
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