U.S. Rep. John Spratt (D-SC) today joined a majority of his House colleagues to vote for legislation that will save or create 319,000 jobs, including 161,000 teachers' jobs. The bill will also help states pay for medical care under Medicaid, and yet reduce the deficit due to offsetting cuts elsewhere in the budget.
Spratt said the bill, H.R. 1586, the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act, provides $10 billion in grants to state and local governments to prevent teacher layoffs this fall and another $16.1 billion in aid to states to cover the costs of their Medicaid programs. Almost $300 million will go to South Carolina alone. And because this spending is offset elsewhere in the federal budget, the bill actually reduces the deficit by $1.4 billion over 10 years.
"Children are heading back to school this month and the sooner this bill becomes law, the sooner school districts can rehire teachers and stop planned layoffs," Spratt said. "South Carolina is estimated to receive nearly $144 million for K-12 education, which translates into 2,600 teachers who will still be there to educate our children this fall."
The bill will also provide assistance for an additional six months -- through June 30, 2011 -- to states whose Medicaid rolls are swollen by the recession. South Carolina is estimated to receive between $130 million and $150 million in assistance for Medicaid.
According to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, the Medicaid funds will save 158,000 jobs, including preventing the layoff of police officers and firefighters. More than half the saved jobs will be in the private sector, including workers who contract for or supply services to state and local governments.
States initially received enhanced federal matching rates for Medicaid costs through last year's Recovery Act, but the increases were set to expire on December 31, 2010.
"This bill is a plus for South Carolina because it will save thousands of crucial jobs while ensuring that our children's education will not suffer and that medical coverage will continue for low-income families. And the bill underscores our commitment to fiscal responsibility by reducing the deficit by $1.4 billion over ten years," Spratt said.
Note: H.R. 1586 passed the House by a vote of 247-161 and now goes to the President for his signature.