New York (CNNMoney.com) – The Senate overcame a key procedural hurdle Wednesday to send $26 billion more in federal aid to cash-strapped states.
The measure, which passed by a 61-38 vote, contains $16.1 billion in additional Medicaid money and $10 billion in education funding to prevent teacher layoffs.
State officials have been desperately lobbying their representatives, saying they need the money to shore up their budgets. President Obama weighed in Monday, asking lawmakers to pass the bill.
Senate Democrats needed to garner at least 60 votes for the measure to pass this initial vote, meaning some Republicans had to cross the aisle. That help came in the form of Maine Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.