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奥巴马签署巨额援助法案 保住16万教师饭碗

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Obama Signs Spending Bill to Protect Teachers’ Jobs高速下载 This is the VOA Special English Education Report.
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Obama Signs Spending Bill to Protect Teachers’ Jobs


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This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

President Obama signed legislation Tuesday to provide twenty-six billion dollars to the states for education and healthcare.

The measure includes ten billion dollars for education and sixteen billion for Medicaid, the joint state-federal government medical program for the poor.

The legislation will help one hundred sixty thousand teachers and one hundred fifty thousand police and public service workers keep their jobs.

The House of Representatives approved the bill Tuesday. House members had already begun a six-week holiday when the Senate approved the measure last week.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi took the rare step of calling House lawmakers back to Washington to vote on the bill and send it to President Obama without delay.

President Obama has stressed the importance of education for all Americans. He said this is necessary for the country to compete among some of the world's fastest growing economies.

The president spoke Monday at the University of Texas. He talked about the decrease in college graduation rates in the United States.

BARACK OBAMA: "In a single generation, we've fallen from first place to twelfth place in college graduation rates for young adults. That is unacceptable, but it is not irreversible. We can retake the lead."

President Obama said educational success and economic well-being are linked, especially in a world economy driven by information and technology. His goal is to increase the percentage of college graduates from forty percent to sixty percent by the year twenty-twenty.

The president said the federal government has already reformed the student loan system and increased tax credits for families struggling to pay college education costs.

Democrats in Congress say spending for the new bill will not add to the federal budget deficit.

But some Republican lawmakers criticized the measure. House Republican leader John Boehner dismissed the emergency jobs measure as more wasteful spending aimed at pleasing the Democrats' traditional union allies.

JOHN BOEHNER: "The American people are screaming at the top of their lungs, ‘Stop!' And Washington continues to spend, spend, spend."

Hours before the vote Tuesday, President Obama told reporters at the White House that education and the safety of communities should not be a political party issue.

BARACK OBAMA: "Those interests are widely shared throughout this country. A challenge that affects parents, children and citizens in almost every community in America should not be a Democratic problem or a Republican problem. It is an American problem."

And that's the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Lawan Davis. You can read and download scripts at en8848.com I'm Steve Ember.

相关中文报道:

  据美国媒体8月11日报道,一项总额为260亿美元的援助法案10日获得美国众议院的通过,而后,美国总统奥巴马立即签署生效,成为正式法律,以便在今年秋天新学年开始前向普遍财政吃紧的各州政府施以援助,从而避免大批教师以及警察等公职人员因地方政府财政赤字过高而下岗失业。

  “我们不能再坐视不管,看着教育我们孩子的那些人们失去工作,我们必须保持社会的安定,”奥巴马在提笔签署法案前表示。

  美国众议院当天召开了全天的会议讨论这项法案,以赶在新学期开学前实施法案。早前奥巴马政府估计,一旦实施这项由民主党人推动的援助法案,预计可挽救30万个教师、警察、消防员等公职岗位,其中教师受益最多,预计将有16万名教师可借援助法案避免下岗失业的命运。

  根据该援助法案,未来联邦政府的财政支援主要分两大部分,其中160亿美元用作“医保补贴”,以帮助全美各州低收入群体获得医疗保险;另外100亿美元则用作“教育补贴”,以帮助经费紧张的各州政府支付教职员工工资。

  而联邦政府为筹集该法案所需的260亿美元资金,将向一直享受较低企业所得税的美国跨国企业增税,并停止向一部分因经济刺激计划而得益的低收入民众发放粮食券。

  民主党认为,此项法案具有重大政治意义,因其将使民主党关键选民受益,而且是为美国“下一代”着想,以免因大批教师失业而影响美国的教育质量。但共和党方面则表示,在当前全美失业率高达两位数之时,该法案只是民主党“挥霍浪费”的又一例证,最终只会导致把本来就紧张的财政资源花在并非急需的救助项目上。

  不过,众议院最终以247票支持、161票反对的结果通过了此项法案,而且投票具体情况基本沿袭党派对立状况,仅有两位共和党人投了支持票,3名民主党人投了反对票。美国参议院则在上周就批准通过了该法案。

  此前,有相当数量的州政府表示,因为财政吃紧,在新学年开始前,他们将缩减教师岗位,这让美国联邦政府感到担心,而法案通过后,将能有效避免这种状况。华盛顿州参议员、民主党人杰伊·因斯莱就表示,得益于该法案的通过,华盛顿州将保住至少3000名教师的饭碗。

  自金融危机以来,美国各州财政收入持续下降,其中施瓦辛格主政的加利福尼亚州更因高额财政赤字而濒临破产边缘。由于财政收入持续不振,而包括失业救济在内的财政开支却持续增加,因此全美各州政府目前普遍经费紧张,财政收支缺口正日益扩大。

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