Today, U.S. Rep. Travis Childers (MS-01) voted to save an estimated 2,000 education jobs in Mississippi and shore up the state's Medicaid shortfalls. The Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act, H.R. 1586, helps states and local governments hire and retain teachers and other educational professionals, and extends for six months a Recovery Act provision that has helped keep thousands of Mississippians on Medicaid. This legislation is completely paid-for.
"Education is the pathway to jobs, and I'm a strong believer that it's the only way North Mississippi is going to lift itself up. I wouldn't be where I am without a solid education," said Childers. "Today's legislation will support teaching jobs throughout the state, helping prevent unemployment and ensure that our children receive the education they need to secure good-paying jobs and contribute to a skilled workforce in the First District."
"Although I am not well-grounded in the particulars of this bill, I support any legislation that helps school districts reduce the pupil/teacher ratio because it enhances instruction," said Milton Kuykendall, superintendent of DeSoto County Schools, the largest school district in Mississippi.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, the bill's $10 billion Education Jobs Fund will provide a projected $97.8 million to save an estimated 2,000 education jobs in Mississippi. The bill will save an estimated 433 jobs in the First District, according to the National Education Association (NEA).
The bill also continues additional federal Medicaid assistance from January 1, 2011 through June 30, 2011. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), this will save the State of Mississippi an estimated $151 million.
"I am proud to have joined with 42 governors, including Mississippi's Gov. Barbour, in supporting this critical Medicaid assistance," said Childers. "The funding will help ensure that Mississippians receive the care they need, and will prevent additional job cuts in our state."
"Times have been tough for Mississippians, and they were headed to get even worse for many families that would have been forced to roll off of Medicaid due to budget shortages," said Rep. Steve Holland (Plantersville), State House Public Health Chair. "Because of the FMAP extension included in this legislation, the Mississippians who need help the most will be able to keep their coverage, stay healthy, and avoid preventable illnesses down the road."
Childers previously voted on similar legislation last month. The bill, which was approved by the Senate last week, passed in the House today and will now be signed into law.
Since taking office, Childers has been working hard to keep teachers employed and ensure that North Mississippi children get a quality, affordable education that allows them to contribute to a skilled and competitive workforce.
Just last week, Childers spoke at ribbon cuttings for Lewisburg Primary School and Lake Cormorant High School. The new schools will help prevent overcrowding and ensure that all students have the resources they need to excel in the classroom.
Childers also recently led a bipartisan group in sending a letter to the President urging him to include a long-term reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools Act in his 2012 budget. Secure Rural Schools provides $30.9 million from 2008-2011 for 33 Mississippi counties -- 9 in the First District -- and 38 school districts. Reauthorization of this legislation will prevent a 75% cut in funding, helping provide students with a quality education and saving teacher jobs.
A pro-gun, pro-life Mississippian, Congressman Travis Childers (MS-01) represents the First Congressional District in North Mississippi. He is a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and serves on the House Agriculture and Financial Services Committee. Congressman Childers co-chairs the reestablished bipartisan Congressional Rural Caucus and was appointed to the bipartisan Second Amendment Task Force. For more information, visit www.childers.house.gov.