Feb. 11, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Senate Acts; House Heads Back

Senate Breakthrough on State Aid Bill Leads House to Reconvene

House Democrats may be feeling that they should be careful what they wish for.

After months of grousing that the Senate was unable to get anything done on its jobs agenda, House Members will now have to interrupt their summer break to pass a $26 billion package of aid to states that the Senate is poised to clear later this week.

“I will be calling the House back into session early next week to save teachers’ jobs and help seniors & children,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

The House will meet in a pro forma session on Monday with votes on Tuesday.

House Democrats said the inconvenience is worth it if it means getting funding for first responders, teachers and Medicaid.

“As millions of children prepare to go back to school — many in just a few days — the House will act quickly to approve this legislation once the Senate votes” in order to “send the bill to President Obama without further delay,” Pelosi said in a statement.

Pelosi noted that the House passed various pieces of state aid starting in December. But the bills have been bogged down in the Senate, and leaders were able to break a GOP filibuster only after the House had left town for a six-week break.

House Members will likely have to cut short trips abroad or interrupt packed district schedules as they gear up for the midterm elections, but they see it as a chance to help reframe the political debate and force Republicans to play defense.

“If Republicans vote against this, they are voting to fire hundreds of thousands of teachers, firefighters and police officers just to protect powerful corporate special interests who want to send American jobs overseas,” said Doug Thornell, spokesman for Assistant to the Speaker and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.).

Democrats have been targeting tax breaks for multinational corporations for months, particularly after that message resonated in Rep. Mark Critz’s special election victory in Pennsylvania.

“I think when people first learned that they are coming back, there’s some grumbling, but at the end of the day, from an optics and a politics standpoint, it’s great for us,” one senior Democratic aide said. “It really presents House Democrats with a chance to define the choice for the American people in one important vote.”

House Republicans ripped the idea of a return to Washington for an emergency spending session.

“The American people don’t want more ‘stimulus’ spending — particularly spending for labor unions attached to a job-killing tax increase,” said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio). “Democrats would be better off listening to their constituents, who are asking, ‘Where are the jobs?’ rather than returning to Washington, D.C., to vote for more tax hikes and special interest bailouts.”

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