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Legislative Update: Education Jobs Fund, America COMPETES Act

Education Jobs Fund

We have been updating you over the last several weeks about the status of the Education Jobs Fund in both the House and the Senate.  To recap, both chambers are proposing a $23 billion jobs fund to protect teachers’ jobs, programs and essential services.  The House Appropriations Committee plans to markup the House version of the emergency supplemental appropriations bill soon.  It is Chairman Obey’s preference that this bill include the $23 billion education jobs fund.  However, he will only put the $23 billion in the supplemental bill if he believes there is sufficient support to pass it on the House floor. In the Senate, Sen. Tom Harkin, chairman of the Labor, HHS, and Education subcommittee plans to introduce the education jobs fund as an amendment on the floor during their vote on the emergency supplemental appropriations.

Earlier this week we sent out an action alert urging you to contact your Representatives and asking them to support the inclusion of the education jobs fund in the House emergency supplemental appropriations bill. We had originally heard that the bill would be marked up after the Memorial Day recess, but the latest word is that the markup is scheduled for next Thursday, May 27th. Please call your member of Congress today!

America COMPETES Act

Two weeks ago we told you that the House intended to consider the America COMPETES Act before the Memorial Day recess. The AP is now reporting that Republicans have “united to derail” the reauthorization of the bill. The bill was brought up for a vote under the House’s suspension process, which limits floor debate, prohibits all floor amendments, and requires a two-thirds vote for final passage, however the bill failed by a vote of 261-148.

Rep. Ralph Hall of Texas, ranking Republican member of the House Science and Technology Committee said the bill “continues to take us in a much more costly direction and authorizes a number of new programs which have little to do with prioritizing investments” in science and technology.

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