It didn’t get much attention, but this week The White House announced its support for a bailout of one of the President’s most important constituent groups: public school teachers (teachers unions, basically).
Specifically, Arne Duncan, Obama’s education secretary wrote the following to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid:
We applaud Chairmen Harkin, Miller and Obey for crafting legislation in direct response to these challenges. S. 3206, the Keep Our Educators Working Act, H.R. 2847, the Jobs for Main Street Act, and H.R. 4812, the Local Jobs for America Act, each call for $23 billion in emergency support to preserve education jobs modelled after the State Fiscal stabilisation Fund (SFSF) established in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). This funding would keep teachers in the classroom while helping to sustain meaningful and necessary reforms in public education across the country.
We urge Congress to include this funding in the supplemental appropriations bills soon to be considered. We also urge Congress to include $2 billion in support to localities for police and firefighters to ensure that our communities remain safe, as well as $1 billion in funds for the Child Care and Development Block Grant to preserve early childhood education jobs and ensure that our youngest children do not lose the supports and services critical to their learning and overall well-being.
Of course, this kind of thing counteracts exactly the type of “absolutely terrible” budget cuts we’re seeing in places like California, and it’s these regular transfers of federal money to local governments that have prevented a “Greece” from happening yet.
But while it may be feasible to pass through a teacher bailout, what happens when there’s no getting around the fact that you need to provide extraordinary assistance to one state in particular, like California. That’s going to be tougher.
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