The House of Representatives passed an overall stimulus bill Tuesday that will rescind $2.2 billion in highway contract authority apportionments from balances held by state transportation departments and President Barack Obama signed the bill into law the same day.
The Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act, HR 1586, was passed by the Senate last Thursday, forcing the House to be recalled from its summer recess, which began in late July, to quickly pass the bill. (see August 6 AASHTO Journal story)
Representatives voted 247–161 to pass the Senate version of the bill, which contains $16 billion to extend increased Medicaid funding for states by six months and $10 billion to help states cover teacher salaries for the upcoming school year. The bill is fully paid for with several provisions to increase taxes and cut spending, including the $2.2 billion reduction in highway contract authority.
Much of the funding included in this bill, which was originally known as the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act, will be used in the next few weeks to help schools pay additional teachers and prevent layoffs. All of the aviation language was stripped from the bill by the Senate last week in an emergency effort to pass the education provisions before school began.