Capitol to Capitol
An Information Service of NCSL's Standing Committees

Volume 17   Issue 11 - March 11, 2010


SENATE PASSES MEDICAID MATCH EXTENSION

On March 10, the U.S. Senate gave its 62-36 approval to H.R. 4213, legislation that would give states a six-month extension of the enhanced Medicaid match originally included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). This estimated $25 billion extension would extend the enhanced match from Jan. 1, 2011, through June 30, 2011. The extension applies to Medicaid, foster care maintenance, adoption assistance and relative guardian payment programs. NCSL supported the extension. States will also receive $1.2 billion in additional adjustments to help with Medicare clawback payments. H.R. 4213, “The American Workers, State and Business Relief Act of 2010,” also provides extended unemployment benefits and COBRA premium subsidy payments for the remainder of 2010. An NCSL-supported effort to extend TANF emergency contingency funds for an additional six months (Oct. 1, 2010, through March 31, 2011) through a floor amendment sponsored by Massachusetts Senator John Kerry and Washington Senator Patty Murray fell five votes short of overcoming a budgetary point of order. The amendment’s offsets were not quite adequate to meet PAYGO requirements. This issue will surface again on another piece of legislation.

The next test for H.R. 4213 is the U.S. House of Representatives. There is no clear indication today whether leadership will schedule it for an immediate vote or go to conference. It’s leaning toward conference committee, meaning that final action on this measure could slip into late March or early April. One issue causing some concern is the offsets in H.R. 4213, some of which also show up in the Senate-passed health care reform bill. NCSL will track further developments closely. Keep current on these issues by going to NCSL’s budget/jobs webpage available at http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?TabId=19494. NCSL thanks state legislators who weighed in with their U.S. senators on the Medicaid match and TANF emergency contingency fund issues. It is not too early to make similar calls to House members. (NCSL staff contacts: Molly Ramsdell, Jeff Hurley [jobs bills generally], Joy Johnson Wilson, Rachel Morgan [health], Sheri Steisel, Lee Posey [TANF])


ANOTHER “JOBS” BILL SURFACES

This one is in the House of Representatives. California Representative George Miller and 20 co-sponsors today introduced H.R. 4812, legislation that would direct $100 billion to state and local governments to help save or expand select workforces. H.R.4812, “The Local Jobs for America Act,” would provide $24 billion to states over the next two years to preserve education, law enforcement and first responder jobs. The legislation is local government-oriented; three-quarters of the proposed funding would go to preserve jobs and create private sector job training initiatives. The legislation is somewhat similar to the original House-passed H.R. 2847, but lacks the infrastructure component. While the Senate has not rejected the House-passed bill, it has not drawn a favorable enough welcome from moderate Democrats and Republicans, leaving some doubt as to whether H.R. 4812 would generate greater support and enthusiasm. Stay tuned. (NCSL staff contacts: Molly Ramsdell, Jeff Hurley)


GREENHOUSE GAS RULES ADVANCE

A draft final rule imposing limits on greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles and light trucks is at the Office of Management and Budget. The rule, authored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), requires vehicles to meet an average fuel efficiency standard of 35.5 miles per gallon by model year 2016, with initial revised standards taking effect for model year 2012. EPA expects an official final rule to be completed by month’s end. (NCSL staff contact: Tamra Spielvogel)


ON THE HORIZON

NCSL Spring Forum 2010 - Washington, D.C. - April 8-10. With a new decade comes a new agenda set by Congress. Legislators need to be resourceful, inventive and enterprising to face the complex problems and issues confronting states now and in the future. Come to NCSL’s Spring Forum to work with colleagues who are facing similar challenges, examine how federal issues affect the states, and develop state's advocacy positions before Congress and the administration. For more information visit: http://www.ncsl.org/Default.aspx?TabID=714&tabs=2638,122,921#921