President Obama has requested that Congress quickly approve nearly $50 billion in emergency aid to help prevent states from being forced to lay off more workers.
In a letter written to congressional lawmakers, Obama suggested that last year’s $787 billion Federal stimulus package will not be enough to avoid the "massive layoffs" of teachers, firefighters and law enforcement personnel.
"The lingering economic damage left by the financial crisis we inherited has left a mounting employment crisis at the state and local level that could set back the pace of our economic recovery," he wrote.
Obama’s proposal came as a surprise to lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, who said the president failed to mention the plan during a White House meeting late last week, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Republican members of Congress spoke out against the request on Monday, noting that previous Federal spending contributed to the mounting deficit while doing little to reduce the nation’s near 10 percent unemployment rate.
"Democrats are showing either that they just don’t get it on this issue of the debt, or that they just don’t care," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). "You can understand the American people’s skepticism when they’re told that simply adding more government is the solution to government’s previous failures."