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Senate Finally Passes Measure on Emergency Funding to States

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America can afford to have teachers for a little while longer (from the Hill):

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.

The offsets? Oh, just poor people not having food:

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.

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