Congressman Garamendi Votes to Keep 16,500 Teachers in California Classrooms, Preserves $2 Billion in Funding for MediCal
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA) flew back to Washington today during his district work period to join House Democrats in voting for H.R. 1586, the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act. This critical legislation, which passed with only 2 Republicans in support, will keep 16,500 California teachers in the classroom and preserve nearly $2 billion in federal assistance for MediCal for six months. Nationwide, 161,000 teachers will keep their jobs. In total, the bill is expected to preserve more than 300,000 jobs nationwide.
"With every teacher we lay off, hundreds of students face larger class sizes and less individual attention – and all the studies show that these are among the most important variables in determining the success of our students," Congressman Garamendi said. "Today, I was proud to join my Democratic colleagues in the House to stand with our teachers and students, because the prosperity of our great nation depends on a well-educated workforce."
The Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act will provide needed relief to counties in the 10th Congressional District. In anticipation of increased federal support, Vallejo City Unified School District rehired 59 teachers last week. Solano County anticipates $1.9 million in medical relief, including $1.1 million for In Home Supportive Services, and Contra Costa County anticipates $5 to 7 million.
"We need to continue the federal Medicaid assistance extension, because it’s hard for lower income Americans to find jobs when they suffer from serious untreated ailments," Garamendi added. "By investing nearly $2 billion into MediCal, the federal government is also giving state lawmakers needed breathing room as they work to craft yet another painful budget for California. Because of this legislation, cities and counties in the 10th Congressional District and across America will be able to keep more police officers, firefighters, and other essential personnel on duty."
The Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act is fully paid for through spending cuts and the closure of corporate tax loopholes. Much of the closure of corporate tax loopholes language in this bill originally appeared in the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act (AJCTLA), which passed the House on May 28th. Like other significant pro-growth, pro-jobs bills, it has since stalled in the Senate because of Republican obstructionism. Senators representing 11 percent of America’s population can successfully block any legislation by using the filibuster. Three weeks ago, Congressman Garamendi took much of the language from AJCTLA related to corporate tax loopholes and reintroduced as part of a package of three Make it in America bills. Similar language is also included in today’s education and health care bill.
"I am proud to have played my part to continue the dialogue on the need to close corporate tax loopholes that help companies ship jobs overseas," explained Garamendi. "Our tax code should not include perverse incentives that reward the offshoring of good American jobs."
While Congressman Garamendi thinks the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act is good and needed legislation, he is particularly alarmed by a spending offset in the bill, effective 2014, that reduces food assistance for working families to levels that existed during the Bush administration.
"Food assistance works for working families, making sure that children, young mothers, and our most vulnerable workers will never go to bed hungry," Garamendi said. "Food stamps are also good fiscal policy. Senator McCain’s economics advisor tells us that food assistance generates $1.73 in economic activity for every $1 allocated. The cut to food aid doesn’t take place until 2014, and by then, I hope this Congress can have a more reasonable conversation on the wisdom of exposing millions of Americans to hunger."