October 21, 2011
"No" Vote on Jobs Bill Shows Callous Disregard for our Kids' Futures, Safe Neighborhoods
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On Senate's 'No' Vote on Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act
WASHINGTON—The senators who voted "no" late Thursday night on the Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act have once again squandered the chance to help our kids, communities and the economy by putting teachers back in the classroom, and ensuring that police officers and firefighters protect our neighborhoods.
The 50 senators who voted against the jobs measure showed a callous disregard for our kids' futures and the safety of our neighborhoods. The no-voters are more concerned about protecting the wealthiest Americans from a half-cent-per-dollar tax increase than about helping our kids and ensuring safe communities. These senators are clearly out of touch with the American people. This week's CNN/Gallup poll found that 75 percent of Americans support the Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act.
Our nation is in a state of economic emergency that requires an immediate response. The unrelenting layoff of teachers and first responders is putting educational quality and the safety of our cities and towns at risk. The $35 billion jobs bill would support nearly 400,000 education jobs and keep thousands of police officers and firefighters on the job. By asking millionaires and billionaires to pay an extra one-half of 1 percent, the jobs plan would strengthen the economy without adding to the deficit.
With a deep and grinding recession causing disinvestment in our schools, the American people are sick and tired of having their concerns about the future ignored by some members of Congress. It's time to set aside the political gamesmanship and do what is right for our students, for the safety of our communities, and for our country.
Follow AFT President Randi Weingarten: twitter.com/rweingarten.
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The AFT represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.