The State Aid Vote Today Is Not About The Deficit

Bill Scher

The Senate is expected to vote today on providing $26 billion in aid to fiscally distressed states and cities.

The vote is about many things. Jobs. Health care. Tax fairness.

But it’s not about the deficit.

Why? Because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has completely offset the cost.

Any Senator who claims to oppose this bill because it will increase the deficit is a liar.

As The Hill reports today (emphasis added):

Republicans have demanded that these bills be offset with spending cuts elsewhere in the budget, and the state aid bill is offset. The $26 billion price tag is paid for by spending reductions as well as new taxes on multinational corporations, which GOP senators are loath to support.

But protecting the profits of multinational corporations from our federal Treasury is not the only reason why conservatives may filibuster the bill.

Providing state jobs would, as AFL-CIO’s Mike Hall reports, “save or create nearly a million jobs for teachers, public employees, police officers, firefighters and others.”

And as I have noted before, conservatives have made clear their hatred for working teachers and job seekers.

Conservatives have already blocked deficit-neutral legislation that would have provided funds to prevent mass teacher layoffs.

And Senate conservatives previously filibustered a deficit-neutral package of state aid, forcing Sen. Reid to remove it in order to win the votes of two GOP senators for an extension of unemployment insurance that did not have its cost offset.

Today’s vote is not about the deficit, because the state aid bill would not increase the deficit.

It’s not about spending $26 billion dollars, because the spending is offset by spending cuts and new revenue.

It’s about whether we should keep teachers on the job, get more Americans back to work, and cover the cost by having multinational corporations pay their fair share.

We should know where the Senators stand later today.

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