Rep. Lois Capps voted in favor of a state aid package containing $16.1 billion for Medicaid assistance (FMAP) and $10 billion for teacher funding of critical importance to California. The bill passed by a vote of 247-161.
“There is nowhere I would have rather been today than on the floor of the House of Representatives to cast my vote in favor of saving the jobs of California teachers, protecting the health care of California families, and helping California avoid massive cuts to important state programs. A vote against this bill was a vote against continuing the economic recovery. Forcing states to lay off thousands of teachers and cut state programs would hamper the progress we have made in the last 18 months. We still have a way to go, but rest assured that job creation is my number one priority,” said Capps.
The distribution of funds will be based on existing federal formulas and will provide more than $1 billion in desperately needed Medicaid funding for California in order to protect access to essential health-care services for working families.
“Extending the enhanced federal matching rate for California’s Medi-Cal program is essential to ensuring that our most vulnerable patients continue to have access to needed healthcare services,” said Ron Werft, president and CEO of Cottage Health System in Santa Barbara. “This increase — as much as $1.2 billion statewide — comes at a critical time for California’s safety net. The increase will provide some protection for hospitals and other providers against further state budget cuts. Last year, Medi-Cal underpaid California hospitals by more than $4.6 billion. We appreciate Congressmember Capps’s continued support of California’s hospitals.”
The bill will also provide $19.1 million to save 268 teaching jobs in California’s 23rd Congressional District.
“This bill is extremely important to the students, communities, and the future of our country. The education jobs bill resources are critical so every student has access to programs, smaller classes, and individual attention. This bill is critical for the economic recovery of central California and beyond. By saving jobs, it has a ripple effect on job creation and local economics,” said Mike Heyl, member of the California Teachers Association from San Luis Obispo.
The full cost of the legislation, $26.1 billion, is completely offset and even contributes to deficit reduction. In fact, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the bill would actually reduce the deficit by $1.37 billion over the next 10 years.
Additional state aid has been a big priority of California’s congressional delegation and state leaders. Governor Schwarzenegger wrote a letter to the California congressional delegation in support of the education funding and additional Medicaid assistance.
Capps’s statement for the Congressional Record is below:
M. Speaker, I rise in full support of this critical assistance for our teachers and relief for our state budgets.
Passage of this bill will provide over $1 billion in desperately needed Medicaid funding for California in order to protect essential health care services for our most vulnerable.
Without this crucial assistance, California’s Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, would have to eliminate programs, reduce reimbursements and otherwise inhibit access to health care services at a time when more families than ever are relying on this safety-net program.
In addition, the emergency funding for education will bring $19.1 million dollars to my district just in time to begin the 2010-2011 school year.
There is no doubt in my mind that the preservation of 268 education jobs in my district alone was worth flying back to Washington to take this important vote.
I urge all of my colleagues to vote in favor of this legislation and hope to see it signed by the President as quickly as possible. I yield back.