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Bipartisan Support for Bill that Saves and Creates 319,000 American Jobs

As Congressional GOP Leaders continue to protect Wall Street, Big Oil, health insurance companies and corporations that use tax loopholes to ship American jobs overseas, Democrats and Republicans in state and county governments and organizations representing millions of Americans are united in support of  this fully paid-for legislation that saves and creates 319,000 American jobs,  reduces the deficit, and closes costly corporate tax loopholes.

National Conference of State Legislatures President Sen. Richard Moore and Immediate Past President Sen. Don Balfour:

“The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) urges your support for a six-month extension of an enhanced Medicaid match (FMAP), as provided for in H.R. 1586.  The enhanced FMAP was originally enacted to provide assistance to states to meet increased obligations, as a result of high unemployment and increased Medicaid enrollment.  Unfortunately, the need for the enhanced match remains.

“This six-month extension is not a ‘bail out.'  Economic recovery remains slow and states continue to be subject to a very stringent maintenance of effort requirement that prohibits our colleagues from changing Medicaid eligibility requirements or creating barriers to application and enrollment through 2013.  If Congress fails to extend the enhanced FMAP states will have no alternative but to cut essential services such as public safety, corrections and other services for vulnerable populations in order to pay for the congressionally-mandated maintenance of effort in the Medicaid program.” [Letter to Speaker Pelosi and Republican Leader Boehner, 8/9/10]

National Association of Counties Executive Director Larry Naake:

“The legislation is fully paid for, fiscally responsible and comes at a critical time for our nation's 3,068 counties. The National Association of Counties (NACo) strongly supports the bill…

“The legislation being considered this week will provide much needed relief to the residents who have been hurt most by the recession and who rely on essential county-provided health care safety net services. Direct federal funding to state and local governments - including counties - would efficiently help retain and create public and private sectors jobs, and help alleviate some of the strain on tight budgets.” [Letter to Speaker Pelosi and Republican Leader Boehner, 8/9/10]

National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel:

“Getting educators back into schools and classrooms is right for students, right for communities, and right for our future.  Without this bill, students would be facing class sizes of 35 and 40 students, cuts to courses they need to graduate, and less instruction time.

'In addition, the Medicaid assistance to states that is embedded in this bill will fulfill our important obligation to ensure that low-income Americans have access to basic healthcare.  Providing Medicaid assistance to states also means that other dedicated public servants--firefighters and police, for example--will be able to stay on the job and work to keep our communities safe.

'Some critics of this legislation first complained that it wasn't paid for. That is not true. This legislation is fully paid for, and the Congressional Budget Office analysis shows it actually will reduce the deficit over the next decade. Others claimed that this legislation will benefit 'special interests.'  Since when did the needs of our nation's students, the health of low-income Americans, and the safety of our communities become special interests?  There are no more excuses. We urge swift passage of this essential legislation. The bottom line is that we need to keep schools open, educators working and students learning.” [8/9/10]

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten
“Make no mistake about it--without this funding, students in the fall will face larger class sizes, shortened school days and weeks, cuts in classes and programs, and fewer teachers. This would be a dreadful start to a new school year. Additionally, states confronting historic revenue shortfalls will have to make a new round of cuts to vital public services in their communities…

“Bringing House members back to Washington underscores the importance of getting this assistance out to school districts and states as soon as possible and the leadership's strong commitment to make this happen.” [8/5/10]

US Action Policy Director Alan Charney:

“The question facing the House on Tuesday is not how to pay for our teachers and first- responders but whether we will pay for our teachers and first-responders…Otherwise, they will lose their jobs. It's as simple as that… This also is an up-or-down vote on economic recovery. This money will be spent immediately at the community level. It not only will save jobs but will help create employment as public sector workers spend money in the private sector.” [8/9/10]

Leadership Council of Aging Organizations:
AFSCME Retirees
Alliance for Retired Americans
American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging
Association of BellTel Retirees, Inc.
Association of Jewish Aging Services of North America
B'nai B'rith International
Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc.
Easter Seals
Families USA
Gray Panthers
International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace
& Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW)
The Jewish Federations of North America
Lutheran Services in America
Medicare Rights Center
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
National Asian Pacific Center on Aging
National Association for Home Care and Hospice
National Association of Area Agencies on Aging
National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs
National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers
National Association of Social Workers
National Association of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs
National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities
National Caucus and Center on Black Aged, Inc.
The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care
National Council on Aging
National Indian Council on Aging
National Osteoporosis Foundation
OWL - The Voice of Midlife and Older Women
PHI - Quality Care through Quality Jobs
Visiting Nurse Associations of America
Volunteers of America
Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW)
National Association for Home Care and Hospice

“Without this extended fiscal relief, state policymakers will be forced to enact deep Medicaid cuts, including reductions in benefits and provider payment rates, as well as increases in cost sharing for beneficiaries. Such actions would be devastating to millions of seniors who rely on Medicaid as a lifeline for health care and long-term services and supports. An additional six months of federal matching funds will allow state Medicaid programs to maintain benefits for low-income seniors and provide further economic stimulus.

“Failure to extend financial assistance to states will also have a devastating impact on jobs - which will further depress the economy for all. According to the National Conference of State   Legislatures, at least 29 states were counting on these extra Medicaid funds when they laid out their budgets for the upcoming fiscal year. Without this help, governors and state legislatures will need to take alternative actions to close their budget shortfalls. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that the impact of state budget cuts could cost the national economy 900,000 public- and private-sector jobs, including teachers, police officers, and firefighters.” [Letter to Congress, 8/6/10]