WASHINGTON — Congress approved a final spurt of spending Tuesday to shore up the sluggish economic recovery, sending to the White House a $26 billion plan to save the jobs of thousands of teachers and other government workers.

The measure brings total direct federal spending on the economy to just over $1 trillion since the Great Recession began in late 2007.

With economic growth faltering and unemployment stuck at 9.5 percent, some economists are urging additional action. But senior Democrats and administration officials said the package of state aid approved Tuesday is likely to be the last significant effort at economic stimulus at least until after the November congressional elections.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., determined to show angry voters a commitment to improving the economy, summoned lawmakers back from their August break for an unusual one-day session to vote on the package, saying it would help governors avoid laying off more than 300,000 workers.

Republicans derided the measure as a transparent handout to teachers’ unions, a key Democratic political constituency, and argued that it would be no more successful at restoring the nation’s economic health than was the massive stimulus package President Barack Obama signed last January.

“This is a bailout. This is another bailout. … Let’s not do this!” yelled Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind. “We’re facing almost a $1.5 trillion budget deficit. America, please, please wake up. And remember in November.”

In a midafternoon vote, the House approved the measure 247-161, with most Republicans voting no. Maine Democratic Reps. Michael Michaud and Chellie Pingree voted yes.

The Senate has already signed off on the package, and Obama planned to sign the bill into law as soon as possible, administration officials said, speeding the cash into state coffers.

The measure would provide governors with an additional six months of federal assistance: $10 billion in education aid and $16 billion to fill gaps opened in state Medicaid budgets by increasing demand.

Faced with bipartisan anxiety about soaring budget deficits, Democratic leaders were forced not only to scale back the package, but also to cover its cost by increasing taxes on multinational corporations and rescinding an increase in the food stamp program that was enacted in the 2009 stimulus package.


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