Feb. 6, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Senate Acts; House Heads Back

Other Republicans downplayed the Democratic win and the rush to get the bill to the president. “Only in Washington would spending money we don’t have to help states put off till next year decisions they should be making now be considered a victory,” one senior Senate GOP aide said. “This deeply flawed logic and awful budgeting will contribute to the downfall of the Democratic majority. This is not leadership. ... I’m sure Pelosi and others will crow and proclaim it to be a big win, but I doubt it moves the electorate at all.”

Pelosi’s dramatic announcement came after a rare flurry of activity in the Senate on Wednesday, when Republican Maine Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins sided with Democrats to break the GOP-led filibuster of the measure.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid quickly put the pressure on Pelosi to bring the House back.

“I think that it’s going to be very difficult for the House to be away from Washington for five weeks while we have this legislation needing their stamp of approval,” the Nevada Democrat said.

Snowe said Wednesday that she voted for the funding despite concerns that the House had already left town.

“Why is the House not coming back today to do this?” Snowe said. “I voted for it now because I think it’s important. But obviously the majority doesn’t think it’s important enough to have the House here to finish it up.” She and Collins later issued a statement calling on the House to reconvene “immediately.”

Other Democrats also sought to press Pelosi, with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) issuing a press release calling on the House to return forthwith.

Sen. Patty Murray said the House coming back into session would help prevent more layoffs of teachers, given that the new school year in many states begins later this month.

“I think this is a really positive thing for them to do,” the Washington Democrat said before Pelosi’s announcement. “If they come back and can pass this now, school districts who are trying to figure out which kids go in which classrooms and how many teachers they have will have time to plan for that.”

Sen. Tom Carper said that House Members were likely to be put out but that by coming back they would gain an accomplishment to tout back home as well as help key constituencies.

“As a former House Member, they might be miffed for a while,” the Delaware Democrat said.

“But in the end ... you’ll be able to go home having achieved something, which I think is an opportunity not to be wasted.”

Carper added that he believes the episode will “serve to lessen” cross-chamber tensions, because despite the inconvenience of the timing, the Senate ultimately delivered on a significant piece of the party’s agenda.

Reid previewed the Democrats’ August talking points on the teacher funding, saying: “Republicans turned their back on this, not for reasons of substance, but for politics. They deem this as a victory for Democrats. We don’t deem it as a victory for Democrats. We deem it as a victory for teachers.”

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