All eight Democratic members of the Assembly Education Committee today applauded the final passage of the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act in Congress, while underscoring the urgent need for New Jersey to apply for these funds in light of the drastic fiscal situation throughout the state.

“This is about putting our children and our families first,” said Education Committee Chair Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. (D-Middlesex). “We should eagerly accept this money for what it is- a life preserver in a dire situation.”

“I’d like to thank Congress and the President for their support of this bill. It’s imperative that we receive this money as soon as possible so that our children won’t be the ones forced to sacrifice when they return to school in the fall,” said Vice Chair Joan M. Voss (D-Bergen).

“Education, healthcare and public safety are all fundamental needs in our society. We cannot afford to take a pass on funding that would help sustain all three,” said Assemblyman Ralph R. Caputo (D-Essex).

“What’s at stake here is preserving the quality of life for our most vulnerable – our children and our low income families in need of access to health care. Because of the severe budget cuts, this is an opportunity to restore the quality of life for our children,” said Assemblywoman Elease Evans (D-Bergen, Passaic).

“Schools throughout the state have been forced to make cuts that go beyond abstract services or administrative functions and impact the education provided in the classroom. We need to seize upon every opportunity to help maintain the quality system New Jersey is known for,” said Assemblywoman Mila M. Jasey (D-Essex).

“With the jobs of almost 4,000 teachers and countless other public safety workers at stake, I look forward to New Jersey applying for these funds. Our children deserve it and our future demands it,” said Assemblyman Paul D. Moriarty.

“It’s important that New Jersey actively apply for this funding in order to protect the quality of our children’s education, keep people employed, provide vital access to healthcare and move our economy forward at no expense to the state,” said Assemblyman Ruben J. Ramos.

“I thank the members of our Congressional delegation who understand the importance of funding that will put more teachers in the classroom, cops on the street and open up doors for our poorest residents seeking healthcare,” said Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer).

The legislation (H.R. 1586), which now heads to President Obama for his signature, is estimated to provide New Jersey with $268 million in funding to retain or rehire roughly 3,900 teachers and roughly $399 million to expand Medicaid services for the state’s neediest residents.