Carper Votes for Funding to Protect Education and First Responder Jobs, Provide Medicaid Assistance to States

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) voted with the majority of his colleagues in supporting the Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage (FMAP) and Education Jobs Fund amendment to H.R. 1586.
The Senate recently passed H.R. 1586 to create a $10 billion Education Jobs Fund to pay educators’ salaries as states face crippling budget shortfalls. The Fund is modeled after the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF), which was created last year under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and is currently funding more than 300,000 education jobs. The $10 billion Education Jobs Fund would keep approximately 140,000 educators employed next year. Delaware could receive up to $27 million from the fund.
In addition, the legislation included a provision safeguarding the support the federal government provides to state Medicaid programs that offer health care to more than 50 million low-income families, seniors, and individuals with disabilities. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act increased the federal assistance to help states pay for Medicaid as they faced falling revenue due to the recession and an increasing demand for health care from vulnerable citizens. This legislation extends that increase in the federal Medicaid funds for an additional six months, through June 30, 2011. This will ensure that states slowly recovering from the recession continue to receive this additional support throughout state fiscal year 2011. The provision is estimated to cost about $16 billion, and Delaware could receive up to $48 million.
The $26 billion cost of the legislation is paid for by cuts to federal spending and by closing offshore tax loopholes.
“This legislation helps some of the most self-sacrificing Americans, our teachers and first responders,” said Sen. Carper.  “Nearly 140, 000 teachers won’t face a pink slip in the coming weeks and tens of thousands of fire fighters, police, and other first responders will be able to continue to provide the critical aid that saves lives and protects communities. In these tough economic times, we need to take responsible measures to support our nation’s recovery efforts. Saving hundreds of thousands of jobs is one of those measures.  I also fought hard to ensure that this federal assistance did not come at the expense of vital education programs which are driving state- and local-level education improvements for students across the country, like the Race to the Top program, the teacher-incentive fund, and charter school start up funding. 
“The six month extension in Medicaid assistance in this legislation will help states continue to provide health care for their most vulnerable citizens during these tough economic times,” continued Senator Carper.  “States across our country are facing high budget deficits and this funding will help states maintain these vital social services as they continue to recover from the recession.  I hope the House of Representatives will swiftly pass this bill and send it to the President’s desk for his signature.”
The House of Representatives is expected to pass the Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage (FMAP) and Education Jobs Fund amendment to H.R. 1586 next week.