GOP Senate Blocks the “Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act”

Tonight it just came across the AP that the GOP Senators voted en masse against a part of the American Jobs Act. The funding, which was fully paid for, was meant to put over 400,000 workers back to work including teachers, firefighters, and police officers. 

The Back to Work Act will give states $30 billion to retain or rehire teachers, firefighters and police officers. It will pay for itself by a new tax on Americans earning more than a million dollars — a half-cent on each dollar earned after the first million in income. 

Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said on Wednesday: 

“The purpose of this bill,” said Brown, “is to show we are not going to wait 14 more months to decide how we are going to make jobs. Our economy and our budget deficit won’t improve until we get people back to work. So we are going to keep bringing these bills up and I think over time, Republicans are going to say to Mitch McConnell, ‘I know you want to oppose anything President Obama supports, but we’ve got to help this economy and that’s why we are going to start voting for these things.’” 

The only thing Democrats can now do is to continue bringing up parts of the AJA and put GOP on the record voting down legislation meant to help the working class in this country. Andrew Leonard, a writer for Salon wrote: 

After affirming that Senate Republicans won’t tax millionaires to rehire teachers, the next step will be to bring up separate bills on infrastructure, school renovation and veteran employment. A series of cascading no votes from Republicans could prove very useful as election campaigns get into their stretch runs. 

But let’s not delude ourselves. It may make perfect sense to a majority of Americans to hire more teachers with revenue raised from taxing the rich. But that’s not a bargain the current Republican Party is willing to make — no matter how many times Democrats reintroduce legislation between now and next November. 


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