In neighborhoods across Nebraska, plenty of schools, firehouses and police stations just let out a collective sigh of relief as Senator Nelson voted to put job-saving state assistance on the path to the President’s desk.  Despite Senator Johanns’ repeated objections, Nebraska now stands to receive some $128 million in federal Medicaid and education funding saving more than 1,000 education jobs in our state.

On August 4, the United States Senate approved a crucial measure that will save 140,000 teachers’ jobs nationally and the jobs of tens of thousands of first responders. 

The amendment, in which Senator Nelson voted “Yes” and Senator Johanns voted “No,” will provide $16.1 billion in increased federal contributions to the state share of Medicaid and in $10 billion in emergency allocations to school districts across the country.  At a time when Nebraska is facing an over $700 million state budget deficit, the resources and jobs saved is welcome news. 

Today marks the fourth time Senator Johanns has voted against cops’, firefighters’, and teachers’ jobs, citing deficit concerns.  However, the measure is deficit neutral, and has an added benefit as reported by The Hill: “The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) last night estimated that the latest version of the Democrats’ plan to extend emergency Medicaid benefits will reduce the federal deficit by almost $1.4 billion over the next decade. 

Senator Johanns once again let down the very Nebraskans who keep our streets safe and who educate our kids.  Considering Senator Johanns has no problem extending the Bush tax credits that blew a huge hole in the deficit, he simply has no excuse to oppose this job-preserving legislation because the bill does not add a dime to the deficit.  In Johanns’ recent press statement, the reason he gave for not voting for the bill was because it added to the deficit.  Knowing the bill does not add to the deficit, we simple do not understand why Senator Johanns would vote to fire thousands of Nebraskans.

Note: there is a caveat for the state aid, Governors must apply for the funds…so time will tell if Governor Heineman wants to save jobs in our state.