The U.S. House has passed a state aid bill that will supply states with funds to protect public workers, such as teachers and police officers, from losing their jobs. The legislation is now headed to President Barack Obama for signing. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that the bill will send $960 million to Illinois.
UPDATE (4:15 p.m.): One day after telling reporters that he would likely support the bill, GOP Senatorial candidate and U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk sided with the Republican minority and voted against the legislation. Both Democratic U.S. Senate Candidate Alexi Giannoulias and AFSCME Council 31
executive director Henry Bayer responded to Kirk's vote via a press release. Here's the Giannoulias camp:
"After today's vote it is clear that Congressman Kirk didn't just lie
about being a teacher, he lied about supporting them. I am stunned that
he would vote against an emergency bill to keep teachers in the
classroom - a bill that is completely paid for and will save at least
5,700 teaching jobs right here in Illinois. Congressman Kirk's vote
today proves he is a typical Washington politician who will always side
with the corporate special interests and against Illinois families and
Illinois teachers," said Illinois State Treasurer and U.S. Senate
nominee Alexi Giannoulias.
And here's Bayer:
“This is the height of hypocrisy," said AFSCME Council 31 executive
director Henry Bayer. "Mark Kirk says one thing here at home, but he
does the opposite when he’s in Washington DC. Illinois needs help to
preserve vital public services and save thousands of jobs of public
servants who provide them—including teachers, police and firefighters,
caregivers and more—but we can’t trust Mark Kirk to stand up to his
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, on the other hand, voted in favor of the measure and released a press release with this statement shortly after the vote:
"Students and teachers in my District cannot be expected to bear the burden as Springfield works to get it's house in order," said Quigley. "We need to make sure the state follows the spirit of the law and the benefits of these funds are felt directly in the classroom. I will continue to work in Washington to make sure the receipt of federal assistance does not result in cuts to Illinois' education budget."