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Senate OKs vote on cash to states

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Posted on August 5 2010 12:15 pm
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by Stephen Dinan and Seth McLaughlin

Congress is poised to extend a taxpayer-funded lifeline to cash-strapped states after the Senate on Wednesday advanced another round of $26 billion in stimulus spending for teachers and health care, and House Democrats said they will break their six-week summer vacation to return to Washington to vote on it next week.

Facing pressure from public employee labor unions and state budget officials, Democrats are rushing to get the money in the pipeline before the school year begins, and have painted the new stimulus spending as a key ingredient to fight unemployment.

“Today, the United States Senate did its job. We saved people’s jobs,”Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, said minutes after fellow Democrats, joined by two Republicans, broke a GOP-led filibuster of the bill. The Senate will take a final vote Thursday, then send the bill to the House, which will reconvene next week and vote on the bill Tuesday.

President Obama has indicated that he will sign the measure if it reaches his desk.

Republicans argue that sending more aid to states only makes an eventual budget reckoning tougher, and blasted the idea of reconvening to pass the bill.

“The American people don’t want more Washington ‘stimulus’ spending – especially in the form of a payoff to union bosses and liberal special interests,” said House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican. “This stunning display of tone-deafness comes at the expense of American workers.”

The bill would send $10 billion to localities to prevent teacher layoffs, and would extend $16.1 billion to help states cover costs of Medicaid, the federal-state health care program for people with lower incomes.

Read more at the Washington Times

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