Vice President Joe Biden and a group of Senate Democrats rallied on Capitol Hill today with firefighters, teachers, nurses and police officers for passage of the $35 billion piece of the jobs bill that is on the Senate floor this week.
“This is an emergency,” Biden told the crowd. “I say to the American people: Watch your senator. Watch him or her choose. Are you going to put 400,000 school teachers back in classrooms? Are you going to put 18,000 cops back in the street and 7,000 firefighters back in the firehouses? Or are you going to save people with average incomes of $1 million a one-half of 1 percent increase in tax on every dollar they make over a million?”
Moments later, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced that Democrats are “going to make sure there is a vote on our bill this week.”
Reid will file cloture tonight on the bill, which sets up a Friday vote in the Senate before it adjourns for a week-long recess next week.
“Real people will get real relief right now,” the vice president said of the bill, which has little chance of passing in the Senate.
Biden slightly toned down rhetoric he used Tuesday at the University of Pennsylvania, but continued to mock the Republicans’ claim that the jobs bill is only a temporary solution.
“There’s nothing temporary about kindergarten being eliminated because it has an effect in that child the rest of their life,” Biden said. “There is nothing temporary about the child that gets 20 percent less attention in the early years of class because class size has increased by 20 to 30 percent. There is nothing temporary about the life saved in a home invasion or a robbery because a squad car is able to get there in five minutes and not in 30 minutes. There’s nothing temporary about that for real, live people.”
Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill., echoed that sentiment quipping, “I’d like to ask my friends in the Republican side of the Senate, who all against us, one basic question: What would you think if you dialed 911 and a billionaire answered the phone? When we dial 911, we want these men and women standing behind me answering that phone, the call of duty, risking their lives for us every day. We want to make sure those teachers are there for our children and grandchildren. We’re not here to protect millionaires; we’re here to protect America.”
Biden noted that Republicans are against the bill because of the way proposed to pay for it: a o.5 percent surtax on people earning more than $1 million. But Biden said it should not be a hard choice for anyone to make given the teachers and first responders who need jobs now. He attempted to put it into perspective for the crowd.
“It doesn’t affect anybody who makes $999,000,” Biden said. “It doesn’t affect anybody who makes $999,900.99. And even when it affects the guy who makes $1,000,001, it only affects that $1.”