State budget bailout on the ropes
Despite intense lobbying from President Obama and governors, the U.S. Senate has rejected an effort to increase one-time federal Medicaid funds that states across the nation gambled would be approved. As reported by Open Congress:
After two weeks of solid debate - and two weeks of people having their unemployment insurance cut off because of congressional inaction - the Senate this morning took their first test vote on passing H.R. 4213, the "American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010." They failed miserably. The final vote count was 45-52. Sixty votes were needed to proceed.
Washington Senators Murray and Cantwell voted for the bill though eleven of their fellow Democrats did not. Here is the full roll call.
At issue was whether the projected $80 billion in deficit spending, that would result by passing the bill, had to be paid for under Pay As You Go rules previously adopted by Congress.
Many states, including Washington, put their faith in Congress to deliver one-time federal Medicaid funds to help balance the budget. In Washington State, for example, the legislature left only $452 million in reserves. Should Congress not come through with the assumed $480 million, the Governor said she will be forced to issue across-the-board cuts as required by law or call a special session.