Today, the Washington Post reported that “eleven weeks after Congress settled on a stimulus package that provided $135 billion to limit layoffs in state governments, many states are finding that the funds are not enough and are moving to lay off thousands of public employees.” Washington state will be forced to layoff several thousand educators and Massachusetts which “cut 1,000 positions late last year, just announced 250 layoffs, with more likely to come soon.”
Apparently missing the article’s point — that the stimulus should have included more budget stabilization funding for states — the House GOP featured the article on their website today, suggesting that the report vindicated their unanimous opposition to the recovery act. Later in the day, they linked to the article on twitter and gleefully quipped, “Look how many layoffs the stimulus created”:
In reality, of course, the economic recovery didn’t “create” layoffs at the state level. Had the recovery plan included no money at all for state level budget stabilization — as the House Republicans proposed — layoffs of public servants at the state level would have been far more widespread.
Further, as the Post makes clear, it was members of the Republican party and several conservative Democrats sympathetic with the Republican line on the recovery package that actively lobbied for reductions in state budget stabilization funding by $40 billion:
But in the Senate, the stabilization funding was cut by $40 billion to secure the support of the three Republicans who were needed for a filibuster-proof 60 votes — Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine and Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania — as well as to gain the support of conservative Democrats such as Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska
Susan Collins (R-ME) defended her efforts to slash the state stabilization funding, saying, “The fundamental purpose of the stimulus bill is to save and create jobs and help get our economy moving again. … The bloated House-passed bill stood no chance of passing the Senate.”