Senate Passes Hurdle to $26 Billion Teacher Pay Bill

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama and his allies in the Senate have won a key vote to advance a bill to help states and local school boards with their severe budget problems.

The bill would extend programs enacted in last year's stimulus law to help preserve the jobs of tens of thousands of teachers and other public employees.

The 61-38 vote Wednesday ensures the measure will pass the Senate shortly. A final vote in the House will be needed to deliver it for Obama's signature.

Unlike the stimulus bill, the $26 billion measure would not increase the budget deficit. It is paid for with spending cuts and a tax increase on U.S. companies operating overseas.

Moderate Maine Republicans Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins cast the key votes to break the GOP filibuster.