Coloradoan: $26 billion for schools, Medicaid stokes debate

Rep. Betsy Markey will vote today in favor of a $26 billion package that’s aimed at providing states with help in funding education and Medicaid.

“Without this bill, Colorado would face a massive budget shortfall and be forced to lay off hundreds of teachers, police officers and firefighters,” the Fort Collins Democrat said. “I pushed to ensure that this funding was offset with savings or cuts elsewhere in the federal budget, and I’m glad it is.”

About 50 Northern Colorado Tea Party activists protested against the bill on Monday afternoon in Fort Collins, part of a broader national effort aimed at vulnerable Democratic House members. About 10 counter-protesters stood on another corner of College Avenue and Mulberry Street, urging passage of the bill.

The $26 billion package provides $10 billion to retain teachers who might be laid off because of dwindling state budgets and $16 billion to help states meet Medicaid needs.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said Colorado would get $318 million from the bill, divided evenly between education and Medicaid spending. The National Education Association estimated the bill would save about 300 teaching jobs in Northern Colorado’s 4th Congressional District and 2,600 statewide.

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