H.R. 4213 Gets Overhaul in the Senate

 

As of June 16, Congress continues to struggle with passing H.R. 4213, The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010.  A constant flow of amendments have been brought to the Senate floor with very few being accepted into H.R. 4213. The goal of this bill is to extend relief to cash-strapped states to prevent cuts to Medicaid, social services and programs, and jobs. The expiration of the increased Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) rate for Medicaid and Title IV-E benefits as of December 31, 2010 will force states to revisit upcoming 2011 budgets that were supported with the anticipation of FMAP increases being extended to June 30, 2011.  Without the increased revenue from the enhanced FMAP, child welfare agencies are predicting position cuts as well as reduction or elimination of services and benefits to children and families. A resounding call from providers, child advocates and families across the country are pleading with the Senate to pass legislation that will sustain the child welfare programs, already significantly slashed by the funding shortfalls experienced in the last 18 months.

Failure to come to resolution of The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010 means the loss of unemployment insurance benefits for approximately  1.2 million Americans by June 26, 2010 (Ways and Means Committee, May 28).  By the end of December 2010 it is estimated the number of unemployed individuals losing benefits will climb to approximately 5 million.  The consequences of losing the unemployment benefits will put more families at risk of homelessness.  TANF Emergency Fund is also a part of the proposed Legislation that needs continuation past September 2010.  While some states have had a difficult time identifying claiming mechanisms and appropriate expenditures to be counted as allowable, many other states have had no problem identifying increased caseloads and demands for services and benefits.  H.R. 4213 extends Emergency Fund through FY 2011 and appropriates $2.5 billion. 

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