Standing in front of the College Point Police Academy, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) today announced he will introduce legislation to protect and create thousands of jobs for teachers, firefighters and police officers. The Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act will authorize $70 billion in federal funding to help states and local governments retain or create jobs for teachers and first responders.
Across the country, state and local budget cuts have either eliminated or put at-risk thousands of education and first responder jobs. The Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act, which is a part of President Obama's American Jobs Act, will authorize $70 billion in federal funding over the next two fiscal years to help states and local governments retain or hire teachers and first responders. Specifically, the Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act will authorize $30 billion in competitive grants per year to states to help local school districts avoid lay-offs, rehire teachers who have lost their jobs due to budget cuts, and hire new teachers to help meet the community's education needs. The bill also provides $5 billion in competitive grants per year to support jobs for police officers, firefighters and first responders. The funds can also be used to maintain current resources, such as keeping firehouses open.
"When teachers are taken out of the classroom, fewer cops are patrolling our streets and firehouses close, we all pay the price," said Rep. Joe Crowley. "Teachers and first responders are the backbone of our communities and my bill will give cities like New York the ability to retain these critical jobs and ensure we are meeting the demands of our growing community."
"During these times of fiscal constraint, the jobs of our fire fighters, police officers and teachers are constantly being put on the chopping block, as unions and public employees are often made the scapegoat for the budget crisis in the State. This is unacceptable and endangers our public safety and the education of our children. That is why I commend Congressman Crowley for introducing this legislation that would provide Federal funds to states and localities to prevent the lay-offs, and increase hiring, of teachers, firefighters and police. I urge Congress to pass this legislation as soon as possible," said State Senator Tony Avella.
"Our police officers, firefighters, and teachers all perform vital roles in our local communities." said Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz (D-College Point). "I applaud Congressman Crowley for his leadership on this legislation to provide important funding for the retention and expansion of our current workforce. It is a common sense solution that brings real job growth to Queens."
"I want to thank Representative Crowley for his leadership and fighting for teachers, firefighters, police officers and the communities they serve. With class size numbers in New York City at record levels, this funding is more important than ever," said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers.
Steve Cassidy, President of the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) said, "The federal government must continue to recognize that New York City is the number one terrorist target and uphold its obligation to keep our city safe by providing enough resources for firefighters and police officers. We encourage Congressman Crowley and the New York delegation for their wiliness to continue the fight for more resources from Washington D.C. to allow our first responders to continue leading the effort to keep New York safe and secure."
"The need for additional federal funds to help maintain adequate staffing in the New York City Fire Department has never been more critical," Captain Alexander Hagan, president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association said. "As of this date, the FDNY has 1,000 fewer firefighters and fire officers than we had on the morning of September 11, 2001. The Fire Department has a long way to go before it is whole again."
NYC Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Patrick J. Lynch said: "The NYPD is grossly understaffed and we are paying a price for it in the numbers of illegal guns and shootings on our streets. There are nearly 7,000 fewer police officers patrolling our streets today than just ten year ago and many of those who remain have been diverted from street patrol to anti-terrorism duty. This important legislation will help us put more desperately needed police officers back on patrol in the neighborhoods and that is good for our citizens and for the city's economy."