Congressional Democrats who approved a new law designed to prevent layoffs of teachers and others nationwide are getting an election-year boost in the form of radio ads sponsored by organized labor.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO on Wednesday announced an ad campaign thanking key Democratic members of the House of Representatives for voting to save hundreds of thousands of jobs that were on the chopping block without adding a dime to the deficit. According to a CNN poll also released Wednesday, 60 percent of Americans support the legislation.
In a special, rare August session called by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, lawmakers on Tuesday approved H.R. 1586, the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act, on a vote of 247 to 161. President Obama immediately signed it into law.
The new law extends federal economic aid to cash-strapped state governments, to help communities nationwide retain teachers, firefighters and others.
The union ads, entitled “Jobs,” applaud passage of the bill, and will run in about a dozen states, according to an AFSCME announcement.
The ads could help a number of incumbent Democrats, who must face re-election this November in a midterm election marked by a sharp degree of anti-incumbent sentiment among voters. Democrats are in the position of defending their congressional majorities after winning big elections in 2006 and 2008.
“The American people will remember who stood up to save our struggling economy, and who chose to play politics with our lives and jobs,” says AFSCME President Gerald McEntee.
Among the specific Democrats the radio spots are intended to help are Reps. Baron Hill of Indiana, Allen Boyd and Suzanne Kosmas of Florida, Baron Hill of Indiana, and Betsy Markey of Colorado.
The union says its ads launch an aggressive, $2.5 million post-passage mobilization and advertising campaign during the August congressional recess that highlights the differences between members of Congress who saved jobs and those who voted to lay off nearly 1 million Americans and “tried to wreck the economy for political gain.”
Without federal assistance to cover Medicaid costs to provide health care to the poor, 900,000 public- and private-sector jobs would be at risk nationally, including teachers, police officers and firefighters, according to an independent analysis by the Washington-based Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.
The publisher of the news site On The Hill, Scott Nance has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.