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

Volume 17    Issue 22 - June 4, 2010


MEDICAID MATCH ACTION NEEDED

State legislators wanting a six-month extension of the enhanced match for Medicaid/Title IV-E programs authorized in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) should immediately discuss the need for and effects of the extension with their U.S. senators. The U.S. Senate reconvenes next week and the lead topic for discussion among members and in caucuses is H.R. 4213, which was passed by the House last week with the enhanced match dropped. This legislation is the only likely vehicle for the inclusion of the extended match. The Senate previously supported the enhanced match extension when it first passed H.R. 4213. Next week’s Senate schedule is somewhat light, meaning that chamber could expeditiously proceed to consideration of the House-passed H.R. 4213 once there is agreement on what additions or modifications must be made to the legislation. In a June 3, 2010, letter, NCSL again urged all U.S. senators to include the six-month enhanced match extension in H.R. 4213. That letter, signed by Georgia Senator Don Balfour and Massachusetts Senator Richard Moore, NCSL’s president and vice president respectively, is available at http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?TabId=20453.

As passed by the U.S. House, H.R. 4213 does contain $2.5 billion for a one-year extension of ARRA’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Contingency Fund for subsidized employment programs, basic assistance and one-time aid. It also extends for one year a taxpayer option to deduct state and local general sales taxes on the federal tax form and extends, with modifications, the Build America Bonds program. NCSL supports each of these three items. NCSL staff contacts: Joy Johnson Wilson, Rachel Morgan (Medicaid), Michael Bird, Jeff Hurley (fiscal issues generally), Sheri Steisel, Lee Posey (TANF)


UP OR DOWN ON GREENHOUSE GASES

On June 10, 2010, the U.S. Senate will conduct an up or down vote on a resolution that would nullify the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s endangerment finding that serves as the backbone for the agency’s light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards and revised Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards. The resolution, S. J. Res. 26 (Alaska Senate Lisa Murkowski) is being considered under procedures that protect it from filibuster and other 60-vote points of order —meaning it needs a majority for approval. NCSL staff contacts: Tamra Spielvogel, Max Behlke


ARRA UPDATE

The latest required Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the use of stimulus funds by state and local governments is available at http://www.gao/Products/GAO-10-604. The report concludes that 41 percent of ARRA funds have been paid out by the federal government. Like its predecessors, this report offers several recommendations on how to overcome a variety of ARRA implementation hurdles. NCSL staff contacts: Michael Bird, Jeff Hurley


DRINKING WATER REAUTHORIZATION ADVANCES

On May 26, 2010, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved H.R. 5320, which reauthorizes the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) for three years. The legislation expands water screening requirements and calls for $4.8 billion in spending authority over three years. Senate legislation (S. 1005) reauthorizing both the Drinking Water and Clean Water SRFs has cleared committee but has yet to gain debate time on the Senate floor. NCSL staff contacts: Tamra Spielvogel, Max Behlke


FOURTH HEALTH CARE REFORM WEBINAR NEXT WEEK

NCSL hosts its fourth health care reform webinar on Wed., June 9, at 3 p.m. EDT. The topic will be state actions taken so far on health care reform. To register for the webinar, visit http://ecom.ncsl.org/public/registration/mtg_reg.htm?mtg=WC060910. For more information on health care reform, please visit http://www.ncsl.org/?tabid=20251. NCSL staff contact: Allison Colker