If only they were as determined to cut spending.Â Alas, Congressional Democrats are hell-bent on taking care of their friends in the teachers unions.
The original $23 billion â€œEducation Jobs Fund,â€� or â€œpublic schools bailout,â€� in the words of American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, fizzled, despite earnest lobbying by both the AFT and the larger National Education Association.
That number was trimmed to $10 billion and inserted into the Afghanistan war spending bill in a cynical maneuver cooked up by Big Labor.
While that passed the House, word is emerging that the pork-laden war bill isnâ€™t going anywhere in the Senate.
But Big Laborâ€™s pals arenâ€™t giving up.Â Theyâ€™re a tenacious bunch that will find one way or another to continue spending oodles more on a bloated system thatâ€™s underserving Americaâ€™s children.
Now, according to CQpolitics.com, the $10 billion public schools bailout will likely be attached to another bill that will likely sail through the big-spending Congress.
One bill that is being studied as a vehicle is the leftover package of tax break extensions that are not included in the Senateâ€™s extension of unemployment benefits. The Senate is scheduled to pass the unemployment bill on Tuesday and the House is expected to take it up on Wednesday.
And Big Laborâ€™s go-to man in the House, Appropriations Chairman Dave Obey (D-WI), isnâ€™t done gutting President Obamaâ€™s education reform initiative, â€œRace to the Top.â€�Â From The Hill:
Obey has proposed a 40 percent cut to the White Houseâ€™s $1.35 billion 2011 request for Race to the Top â€” a budget allocation for which Obama personally pleaded.
This is the second conflict this month between Obey (D-Wis.) and the White House over money for the program, which awards federal grants to states that adopt performance-based policies for their public schools.
Obey also wants to cut money from a fund that provides incentives for charter school development, performance pay for teachers and tenure modifications. He originally wanted to divert $500 million from that worthy fund, but now wants $1.3 billion.
This reveals two things -Â how determined Obey is to deliver the bacon for the teachers unions, but also the perceived weakness of President Obama.Â If the presidentâ€™s own party is dismantling one of his signature programs, just imagine whatâ€™s happening behind the scenes.
The NEA welcomed Obeyâ€™s onslaught with open arms and typical lovey-dovey socialistic rhetoric.
Obeyâ€™s attempt to balance funding for reforms with more traditional programs is winning support from teacher unions, which have also questioned the Race to the Top approach.
â€œWe fundamentally believe that the governmentâ€™s role through federal funding is to be a partner to all states, so weâ€™re truly investing in all childrenâ€™s successes and futures, instead of making states have to compete,â€� said Kim Anderson, the government-relations director for the National Education Association.
Regardless of what bill is used as a vehicle for the public education bailout, it should be defeated until public schools have demonstrated theyâ€™re able to cut labor costs to sustainable levels.Â This bailout would have the opposite effect by relieving the pressure on schools to deal with their financial excesses, which is precisely the Democratsâ€™ goal.