The president added, “So this week I am going to ask Members of Congress to vote on one component of the plan, which is whether we should put hundreds of thousands of teachers back in the class room, and cops back on the street and fire fighters back to work.”
The president’s proposal will support state and local efforts to retain, rehire and hire early childhood, elementary and secondary educators, including teachers, guidance counselors, classroom assistants, after-school personnel, tutors and literacy and math coaches, according to the White House.
These efforts will help ensure that schools are able to keep teachers in the classroom, preserve or extend the regular school day and school year, and also support important after-school activities.
Obama also called on Congress to take up a provision from his jobs bill that would fund infrastructure projects, provide aid and training to the unemployed, and force a vote on raising taxes on wealthier Americans.
“So those are the choices that Members of Congress are going to face in the coming weeks,” Obama said. “If they vote against these proposals again ... then they are not going have to answer to me; they are going to have to answer to you.”
Senate Republicans argue that the Democrats’ stimulus policy has not worked. They cite as proof the fact that Democrats have sought funding for government jobs for the past two years: $53.6 billion in the 2009 stimulus bill, $26 billion in 2010 for teachers and states and now $35 billion in 2011.
“It is disappointing that Senate Democrats are still focused on the same temporary stimulus spending that’s failed to solve our jobs crisis instead of bipartisan legislation that would lead to private-sector job growth,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a release Monday.
“Democrats have a choice: They can try to divide the country along partisan fault lines for the sake of an election that is still 13 months away, or they can work with us on passing bipartisan legislation — such as tax reform, domestic energy production, regulatory reform — that gets at the root of the jobs crisis now,” McConnell said.
But first the Senate must consider the spending package, which is made up of three appropriations bills: Commerce, Justice and science; Agriculture, rural development, and Food and Drug Administration; and Transportation and Housing and Urban Development spending measures.
The package is expected to draw a number of amendments, including a possible proposal from Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) that would allow armed citizens with state-approved concealed-carry permits to cross into another state that also allows the carrying of concealed weapons. Thune has not yet decided whether to offer the proposal to the CJS bill.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.