Miller wants money for school-building restored

House Education and Labor Commitee Chairman George Miller, D-Martinez, said today he appreciates the U.S. Senate’s 61-37 vote to pass economic recovery legislation, but he also wishes they’d seen that spending on education creates jobs.

Miller said new estimates compiled by the Economic Policy Institute say $14 billion in school modernization passed as part of the House’s economic recovery plan would create at least 315,000 more jobs than the Senate-passed bill: 97,000 new construction jobs, 68,000 jobs in related-input industries, and another 150,000 jobs as those other workers re-spend their earnings.

Said Miller:

“While I am glad the Senate has now joined the House in passing legislation to get our economy moving forward again, it appears the Senate bill creates about 400,000 fewer jobs than the House legislation. With more Americans losing their jobs by the day, we must make every effort to bring that figure up.

“As President Obama has said, one way we can do that is by restoring investments to modernize our nation’s schools and colleges. The $14 billion to repair, renovate and update public schools included in the House plan would create at least 315,000 more jobs than what the Senate bill generates. Modernizing our schools and colleges is a common-sense way we can quickly create jobs while helping our students get a 21st century education, and should get restored to this plan as negotiations move forward.”

Congressional Republicans still don’t buy it. More after the jump…

From House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio:

The fact is, this trillion-dollar spending plan is not much different than the one House Democrats passed two weeks ago. It is more costly, is loaded with slow-moving Washington spending, opens the door to scores of pet projects that taxpayers cannot afford, and is not focused on creating more jobs for families and small businesses. Even worse, its authors are trying to take advantage of the crisis in our economy to enact a series of liberal policy proposals that have nothing to do with job creation, such as reversing welfare reform and letting government ration out health care options to America families and seniors. While time is running out to get this plan right, Republicans continue to believe we can work together in a bipartisan way to let families, small businesses, job-seekers, and home-owners keep more of what they earn to create more jobs and get our economy moving again.”

Summing up, in short: Miller and other Democrats believe more government spending on schools and in other areas will create jobs soonest, while Boehner and other Republicans believe tax cuts are the answer. So said New Democrat Coalition chairwoman Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, on behalf of her moderate caucus:

“The economic recovery package is a step in moving us towards prosperity, putting Americans back to work and getting businesses to grow and hire. Our crisis is deep. We’re taking bold and decisive action to get the economy back on track, but too many people are operating as if it is business as usual.

“The House economic package cuts taxes for middle class Americans, extends unemployment insurance, helps states in danger of having to cut teachers and police officers and other vital services, and invests in our roads and bridges, medical technology and energy independence.”

Oh, to be a fly on the wall at the conference committee that’s going to have to hash out the differences between the bill’s House and Senate versions; they’ll have to find a solution that doesn’t scare off the three Republicans — Susan Collins of Maine, Olympia Snowe of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania — who voted for the Senate version today (There’s nothing to lose in the House, of course, where not a single Republican voted for the bill.)

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.