Thursday, August 05, 2010

U.S. Senate approves funding for states

Illinois may get some help from the federal government in dealing with its budget woes.

The U.S. Senate voted today to approve a $26.1 billion aid package for states geared at maintaining education and public sector jobs and helping states meet their Medicaid obligations.

A total of $16.1 billion would go toward Medicaid, and $10 billion would be spent to cut down on teacher layoffs.

According to Gov. Pat Quinn, Illinois would receive at least $500 million in Medicaid dollars and $400 million in education funding. While many Illinois officials would likely breathe sighs of relief at any additional funds to help plug budget holes, $500 million is shy of the $750 million in Medicaid matching funds that Quinn built into his original budget.

“I salute the U.S. Senate for extending crucial Medicaid funding and for helping keep teachers in classrooms across Illinois and the nation. … I am confident that the U.S. House of Representatives will act quickly to pass this vital legislation that keeps so many people working in Illinois and across the country,” Quinn said in a written statement.

A U.S. House vote is expected on the measure next week, possibly as early as Tuesday. President Obama supports the measure and is expected to sign the bill if it passes in the House.

Other programs would be cut to pay for the bill, including a $12 billion reduction in funding for food stamps and a $1.5 billion cut to a fund for renewable energy projects.

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