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

Volume 17   Issue 19 - May 14, 2010
 

GAME ON … MEDICAID MATCH EXTENSION TO FLOOR

Next week the U.S. House of Representatives will take up H.R. 4213 that would provide states with a six-month extension of the enhanced match for Medicaid and Title IV-E programs in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The package will likely provide states with a one-year extension of ARRA’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Contingency Fund and state and local governments would have access to an expanded Build America Bonds program. Also in H.R. 4213 are calendar year extensions of unemployment benefits and COBRA premium subsidies. House members have found sufficient offsets for the tax-related provisions of the legislation with the remainder deemed “emergency” spending. State legislators should contact their congressional delegations one more time and urge them to support the Medicaid match, TANF and Build America Bonds programs that NCSL has backed. House and Senate leaders continue to state their intent to finish action on H.R. 4213 by the Memorial Day recess. (NCSL staff contacts: Michael Bird, Jeff Hurley [HR 4213 generally], Joy Johnson Wilson, Rachel Morgan [Medicaid], Sheri Steisel, Lee Posey [TANF]).


FIRST HEALTH CARE REFORM WEBINAR NEXT WEEK

NCSL will host its first health care reform webinar on Monday, May 17,at 3 p.m. EDT. High-risk pools will be the topic. Other webinars are scheduled for: May 26,on grant opportunities; June 2, on health exchanges; and June 9, on state actions so far. For more information, please visit http://www.ncsl.org/?tabid=20251. To register for any of these webinars visit http://ecom.ncsl.org/public/registration/mtg_reg.htm?mtg=WC051710. (NCSL staff contacts: Joy Johnson Wilson, Rachel Morgan)


SENATE MOVES FIRST ON SUPPLEMENTAL

Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved a FY 2010 supplemental appropriations bill that would provide $34 billion for military operations in Afghanistan. Appropriators gutted what NCSL has tabbed “jobs bill #3 (H.R. 4899—disaster assistance, small businesses, summer youth employment) to accommodate the president’s supplemental funding requests. The legislation would inject $5 billion into the near-penniless federal government disaster assistance account and provide Vietnam War veterans exposed to Agent Orange with $13 billion in compensation. Funds ($68 million) for Gulf Coast oil rig and platform inspections and studies are also a part of the package, with additional funds for oil spill activities likely to be added on the Senate floor. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin may attempt to add $23 billion for state education spending to offset teacher manpower reductions and other education spending reductions on the Senate floor. House appropriators may mark up their own FY 2010 supplemental. Congressional leaders continue to press to finish the supplemental before the Memorial Day recess. (NCSL staff contacts: Michael Bird, Jeff Hurley)


EPA ADVANCES EFFORTS ON CLEAN AIR RULE

On April 26, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sent a proposed rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review that would replace the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR). CAIR is an interstate emissions trading program for power plants aimed at addressing downwind air pollution. It was struck down by federal appellate judges after the agency failed to adequately prove that upwind reductions would be sufficient to help the downwind states meet required standards. The appellate court also found that the EPA improperly linked reductions in sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions to Title IV of the Clean Air Act. The EPA plans to release the proposed rule in June but has not indicated when it will be finalized. (NCSL staff contacts: Tamra Spielvogel, Max Behlke)