After months of trying, the Senate on Wednesday voted to end debate on legislation providing states with billions of dollars in emergency Medicaid funding through the first half of 2011.
The vote lends a pre-recess legislative victory to Democratic leaders, who have struggled for months to pass the measure under threat from the nation's governors that a failure to do so would lead to layoffs and cuts to safety-net programs nationwide.
The tally was 61 to 38, with Maine GOP Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe joining every Democrat in favor of the bill.
The two moderate Republicans were drawn to support the measure after Democratic leaders scaled back the measure from $24 billion to $16.1 billion and provided offsets for the entire cost of the legislation, which includes $10 billion for education programs to prevent teacher layoffs.
For liberals, the offsets came at a price: Almost $12 billion of the $26.1 billion tab is covered by cutting food stamp benefits to low-income Americans beginning in 2014.
Wednesday's cloture vote sets the stage for a final passage of the bill no later than Thursday afternoon — depending on how long GOP leaders want to delay.
The House won't be back in session until after school starts, so NO teacher jobs will be saved in the 2010-2011 school year.
But FEWER people will receive food stamps and those that receive them will have their benefits CUT.
President Obama pushed for the $11.9 billion dollar food stamp benefit cut rather than have $500 million cut from his $4.3 billion dollar Race to the Top/Fire Teacher and Close Schools program.
Now that's some change we can believe in, huh?
Offset a teacher jobs bill that won't actually save any teacher jobs with almost $12 billion in food stamp cuts so that you can save $500 million that goes for firing teachers and closing schools.
No wonder President Obama is pulling out all the stops to keep corporate whore Dems like Michael Bennet in the Senate.
Real progressives would call Obama out on his corporate whore shit.