cloture vote regarding FMAP in the Senate has paved the way for a final vote on the Senate legislation to occur sometime today. Pennsylvania expects to receive approximately $600 million in funding from the bill, leaving a budget shortfall of $250 million for the upcoming year. Governor Rendell announced yesterday that he plans to meet with legislative leaders in the next week to determine how to fill that $250 million gap, which could be done through layoffs of up to 11,000 people, spending cuts, or a combination of the two.
As states piece together their budgets with FMAP funding, a few hurdles still must be crossed. In addition to the upcoming Senate vote on the measure, the House must cast their votes in order for the bill to pass. While the House was not expected to return to session until September, Speaker Pelosi indicated that she plans to call the House into session by next week so that they can vote on the bill.
If you believe this bill is important, please take a moment to contact your representative to ask him or her to support FMAP funding when it comes before the House. You can learn more about the impact of FMAP in your district from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, and you can find ways to contact your legislators at Better Choices for Pennsylvania.
You should also know that while passage of FMAP can help the state avoid a devastating budget crisis, it also comes at a cost to families who rely on the SNAP (food stamps) program. In order to fund the $16.1 billion program, the FMAP bill cuts $11.9 billion in funding for SNAP. Many organizations are expressing concerns about this funding choice and are asking legislators to find ways to fund FMAP without cutting SNAP. To learn more and take action, please visit FRAC's website.
photo courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:United_States_Capitol_-_west_front.jpg