By Lori Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 5, 2010; 1:03 PM
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will call the chamber back into session next week to finish work on a $26 billion plan to prevent the layoffs of tens of thousands of teachers and other public workers.
"I will be calling the House back into session early next week to save teachers' jobs and help seniors & children," Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Wednesday from her Twitter account.
The announcement came a few hours after the measure cleared a key hurdle in the Senate, handing President Obama a long-sought victory on his election-year jobs agenda.
The bill advanced by a vote of 61 to 38, breaking a GOP filibuster and setting the stage for final Senate approval later this week. Two Republicans -- Maine Sens. Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins -- joined a united Democratic caucus in supporting the measure.
It must return to the House, which adjourned Friday for its August recess but which will reconvene. Snowe had urged House leaders to summon lawmakers back to Washington to complete work on the bill and send it on to the White House for Obama's signature.
Democrats hailed passage of the bill, which would extend programs enacted in last year's economic stimulus package to help cash-strapped states avoid layoffs. The measure would give states $10 billion for education programs and $16 billion to help cover their Medicaid budgets in the first six months of next year.
The cash is only about half what Obama had sought for the two programs and is far less generous than desperate governors had hoped for.
Anxiety in Congress about the mounting national debt forced Democratic leaders to devise a plan to cover the cost of the package, blunting its impact on the economy. To offset the new spending, the package would cut off in March 2014 an expansion of food stamp benefits enacted last year. It would also eliminate tax breaks for some multinational corporations based in the United States that have operations abroad -- a centerpiece of a House Democratic campaign to promote domestic manufacturing and discourage companies from shipping jobs overseas.
Democrats had tried for weeks to advance a bill to provide fresh aid to the states, but had been pushed repeatedly to scale back the proposal -- and ultimately to pay for it. Even then, Democrats lured the needed Republican votes only after dropping proposed cuts to Navy shipbuilding, an essential part of the Maine economy.