Democrats increase pressure on Senate GOP ahead of critical vote on state aid

Republicans who vote against the legislation, which extends aid to state governments’ health and education programs, are putting CEOs ahead of teachers and public safety officials, a new Democratic National Committee (DNC) video charges.

The Senate will likely attempt to move forward with the bill on Monday, as it begins its last week of action before members leave for August’s congressional recess. The state aid bill will need the support of at least one Republican to get the 59 votes to advance — assuming Democrats don’t lose some of their own votes. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) has sided with the GOP on many similar economic packages.

Republicans have demanded that these bills be offset with spending cuts elsewhere in the budget, and the state aid bill is offset. The $26 billion price tag is paid for by spending reductions as well as new taxes on multinational corporations, which GOP senators are loath to support.

The DNC is lending political reinforcement to Senate Democratic leaders, who failed to muster the political support to approve a small-business bill last week, with Republicans and Nelson objecting on the same grounds. Senate Democrats also failed for weeks to advance an extension of unemployment benefits until finally sending the package to President Obama.

“Republicans are all too eager to extend tax breaks to Wall Street CEO’s and ‘Big Oil’ — or to fight on behalf of insurance companies and against health reform — but when it comes to keeping teachers, fire fighters and police officers on the job, that’s simply not a priority for Tea Party Republicans,” said DNC Communications Director Brad Woodhouse. “We’re going to pressure Republicans to cast the right vote tomorrow — but you can bet if they don’t this will be a campaign issue in the fall.”

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