Washington political battle complicates Pennsylvania budget

    Concern over the nation’s growing deficit is calling into question additional Medicaid funding.

    Concern over the nation’s growing deficit is calling into question additional Medicaid funding. Many states, including Pennsylvania, are counting on the extra money for next year’s budget.

    Senator Bob Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, says he’s frustrated by the Senate’s inability to pass an extension in federal Medicaid funding.

    States across the country have budgeted the increased federal medical money into their spending plans.

    Virginia, for instance, counts on the money to fill a $400 million hole, and Washington State is expecting $480 million from the FMAP bill.

    Governor Rendell’s spending plan relies on $850 million from the proposal.

    But last week, two test votes on the measure failed, as Republicans and a group of Democrats voiced concern about more federal spending.

    Casey argues the spending boost will ultimately bring the deficit down, since it will save and create state jobs.

    “The best way to attack deficits is to have a fully recovered economy,” says Casey, “where you’re getting growth – like we did in the 90s, where you have growth and the pie’s getting bigger and you can dedicate more dollars to deficit reduction.”

    Casey says he’s hoping for another vote this week.

    Rendell has said he’ll start moving the $850 million dollars into budgetary reserve if the bill doesn’t pass Congress by July 1.

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