The suggestion is, why should the federal government be involved in school construction?
Well, I visited a school down in South Carolina that was built in the 1850s. Kids are still learning in that school, as best they can ... [but] it's right next to a railroad. And when the train runs by, the whole building shakes and the teacher has to stop teaching for a while. The auditorium is completely broken down; they can't use it.
So why wouldn't we want to build state-of-the-art schools with science labs that are teaching our kids the skills they need for the 21st century, that will enhance our economy, and, by the way, right now, will create jobs?
One thing Obama forgot to mention: The school construction money is more rightly called "modernization, renovation, or repair" aid. That's the term used in the House stimulus bill to define how local school districts are allowed to use their federal funds.
As much as Republicans enjoy portraying the $16 billion as paying for shiny new schools in already wealthy areas, that wouldn't happen if the money is restored.