"It's deeply disappointing that a Democratic administration would threaten to veto a jobs bill because paying for it would require a negligible cut from its new pet programs. We understand the administration wants to protect its favorite programs for future disbursements, but we need to protect kids and this generation of new teachers now," American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said Thursday.
Including the education cuts reflects the political reality facing Congressional Democrats, who must govern with an anti-war Democratic caucus and an anti-spending opposition. House Republicans are supportive of the war effort, but opposed attaching additional domestic spending to the bill. Democrats on the other hand, were swayed to support the supplemental because of the unrelated funding, which many viewed as a chance to revive their jobs agenda.
Looking ahead it's unclear if the President will face the same kind of opposition in the Senate, which must approve the House legislation for it to become law. A group of Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Indiana, have aligned with the president to oppose the education cuts in the House bill.
"The proposed education cuts are unacceptable," wrote thirteen Democratic senators in a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye on Friday. "Choosing between preserving teacher jobs and supporting vital education reforms is a false choice and would set a dangerous precedent. By reducing promised funding for these important reforms, Congress would be pulling the rug out from under the efforts of thousands of communities around the country working to improve their schools."