The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Congress defeats jobs bill for second time in two weeks

Congress defeated a bill for the second time in two weeks that could have potentially allowed California to support 37,300 education jobs.

The Senate voted down a $35 million piece of President Obama’s $447 billion American Jobs Act on Thursday. The bill was 60 votes. The bill was voted 51-49 on Oct. 11, also falling short of the required votes.

After the first defeat, Obama said he would break up the bill into pieces to get it passed.

“For the second time in two weeks, every single Republican in the United States Senate has chosen to obstruct a bill that would create jobs and get our economy going again,” Obama said in a statement this week. “That’s unacceptable. We must do what’s right for the country and pass the common-sense proposals in the American Jobs Act.”

The $447 billion bill was created in response to an over 9 percent national unemployment rate. The bill includes extensions of a payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits as well as spending on public works projects, including $175 billion to be spent on repairing roads and schools.

The other objective of the plan is to pour money into states to help prevent firefighters, police and teachers from being laid off.
The bill would invest about $36 billion to prevent 280,000 teachers from being laid off nationwide, according to the White House, and it could save or create up to 400,000 jobs in education by giving states money.

Congressional Republicans said they are against the bill because of how much the government would spend and have called it a temporary solution, according to the website republican.senate.gov, an organization of Senate Republicans.

The “Democrats’ sole proposal is to keep doing what hasn’t worked — along with a massive tax hike that we know won’t create jobs,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) said in a statement last Tuesday.

California and Texas would receive the most money, because of their large teacher populations.

If the bill is passed, California will receive $3.62 billion, which would support 37,300 jobs, said Micheal Spagna,  dean of Northridge’s education department.

“This is long past due that the nation as whole recognizes that we have basically eviscerated public education by allowing for layoffs to happen throughout the whole United States,” he said. “How devastating is that as a professional when every year you’re getting a notice that you may not have a job next year?”

Early childhood and elementary school teachers would benefit most from the bill, which is crucial, Spagna said.

“They’re some of the best people in the profession,” he added.

But Nancy Virts, CSUN’s economic department chair, was more skeptical of the plan.

“I think it’s probably more directed by political pressure than economic pressure and it probably won’t have much effect in the long run one way or the other,” she said. “It’s not an issue for government.  It’s an issue for taxpayers. How much are you willing to pay for education?”

Spagna said the bill is a necessity for teachers, adding that students in the education department have been worried about graduating and finding jobs.

“The job market is really staggered,” he said.  “A lot of teachers before would have been guaranteed getting jobs, particularly in the Los Angeles Unified School District, but that’s not an option.”

Spagna cited the U.S. Department of Labor’s National Emergency Grants, which he said currently helps teachers. The grant allows teachers that have been laid off to come back to Cal State schools and sharpen their teaching skills.

They would not earn another credential, but it would still benefit them, he said.

“It’s an incentive to get them back to a university to deepen their knowledge,” Spagna said.

Just like those that voted down the bill, Virts remained unconvinced at this point of how effective it could be.

“It may have political effects, but whether it will have economic effects, I’m not too sure,” she said.

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