House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "tweeted" Wednesday that the House of Representatives will interrupt its August recess to pass a funding package for Medicaid and teachers. The measure cleared a critical hurdle in the Senate today, ensuring the state assistance will be signed into law once both chambers of Congress take final votes on the measure.
"I will be calling the House back into session early next week to save teachers' jobs and help seniors & children," Pelosi said via Twitter this afternoon.
Senate Democrats overcome Republican opposition to the $26 billion aid package this afternoon with the assistance of Maine's two moderate Republican senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. The measure extends programs enacted in the stimulus package, with $16 billion for state health care programs and $10 billion to help school boards avoid teacher layoffs. Democrats convinced Collins and Snowe to support the measure by making some adjustments to it, including making sure it would not add to the deficit.
The extension of the Medicaid funding "is necessary to help states protect against further job losses as the economy slowly turns around," Collins and Snowe said in a joint statement today. "We strongly urge the House of Representatives to return into session immediately and pass this legislation to aid our states."
Pelosi said in her own statement that she was pleased the bill will finally pass in the Senate, presumably tomorrow.
"As millions of children prepare to go back to school - many in just a few days -- the House will act quickly to approve this legislation once the Senate votes," Pelosi said. "In consultation with our leadership, I am calling Members of the House back to Washington at the beginning of the week to pass this bill and send it to President Obama without further delay."