Emergency funding bill saves jobs of 662 teachers statewide
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree voted against an emergency war funding request tonight, saying the loss of American lives in Afghanistan is unacceptable, and the money being spent on the war would be better used reducing the deficit and helping our economy recover.
Pingree speaking on House floor
“Last week the Senate voted not to extend unemployment benefits or pass funding that would help keep firefighters and teachers on the job—because, they said, we couldn’t afford it,” Pingree said. “Isn’t it time to start asking whether we can afford a war that costs us $7 billion a month?”
Pingree also said the war in Afghanistan isn’t making us any safer.
“After the events of 9/11, the United States went into Afghanistan to capture or kill Osama bin Laden and dismantle Al Qaeda,” Pingree said. “Not to occupy the country or build the Afghan government, a government that has proven time and time again to be one of the most corrupt in the world.”
Pingree voted to completely block additional war funding, as well as amendments that required a safe withdrawal from Afghanistan and a concrete timetable for ending U.S. military involvement in that country. All three measures failed to get enough votes to pass and Pingree said she was disappointed with the outcome.
“A majority of American’s don’t think we should continue fighting the war in Afghanistan,” she said. “It’s time our national policy catches up with public opinion.”
Pingree also voted for emergency domestic spending, including funding to help state’s close budget deficits and preserve the jobs of teachers. The amendment Pingree voted for would bring $39 million to Maine and save the jobs of an estimated 662 teachers statewide. The measure, which passed, also closes a shortfall in this year’s Pell Grant program and provides further support for the oil spill cleanup in the Gulf of Mexico.
“The economy is still very weak and there are still far too many people out of work,” Pingree said. “The last thing we need to do at a time like this is to lay off hundreds of teachers statewide.”
Now that this emergency domestic and war spending has passed the House, it will go on to the Senate.