President Obama signed into law a $26 billion plan to save the jobs of thousands of teachers and other government workers. According to the Washington Post, “The measure brings total direct federal spending on the economy to nearly $1.2 trillion since the nation descended into recession in late 2007.”
The president told reporters from the Rose Garden, “We can’t stand by and do nothing while pink slips are given to the men and women who educate our children and keep our communities safe.” He was joined by Education Secretary Arne Duncan and two public school teachers.
Jen Psaki writes on the White House blog,
Keeping these Americans at work, whether they are teachers in the classroom or police keeping our streets safe, will also help ensure that the economic recovery keeps moving forward. With the House and Senate both having passed this legislation now, the President has now signed it into law.
Republican critics of the bill called it everything from a “bailout” to a “handout for teachers.” Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Ill.) declared from the House floor:
“We’re facing almost a $1.5 trillion budget deficit. America, please, please wake up. And remember in November.”
By voice vote, the House also approved a $600 million bill for surveillance and security along the U.S.-Mexico border. Senate leaders could return to Washington to push that measure to final passage as soon as next week.