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WASHINGTON (AP) — Summoned back from summer break, the House on Tuesday pushed through an emergency $26 billion jobs bill that Democrats said would save 300,000 teachers, police and others from election-year layoffs. President Barack Obama immediately signed it into law.
Lawmakers streamed back to Washington for a one-day session as Democrats declared a need to act before children return to classrooms minus teachers laid off because of budgetary crises in states that have been hard-hit by the recession.
Republicans saw it differently, calling the bill a giveaway to teachers' unions and an example of wasteful Washington spending that voters will punish the Democrats for in this fall's elections. The legislation was approved mainly along party lines by a vote of 247-161.
The aid for the states is to be paid for mostly by closing a tax loophole used by multinational corporations and by reducing food stamp benefits for the poor.
New Mexico will receive $126 million through Medicaid and $65 million for New Mexico public schools. Sen. Jeff Bingaman said the federal funds will free up state dollars and curb the likelihood of layoffs in school districts.
Financial forecasts have shown the state facing a shortfall of more than $200 million for the fiscal year that started July 1.
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