Senate Expected To Vote On Extra Medicaid Funds Tonight

CQ: An administration official was making last-minute calls Monday "in the lead-up to an evening vote on a stand-alone bill to extend increased Medicaid payments to states and provide $10 billion for educators' jobs."  The measure, with a $26.1 billion price tag, contains the Medicaid and education provisions that were "struck a from other bills despite heavy lobbying by state and local officials."

Senate Democrats are seeking to draw the support of every member of their caucus as well as an independent and at least one Republican to meet the 60 votes needed to "invoke cloture and limit debate" by "fully offsetting the cost ... through revenue raisers and spending cuts elsewhere." The bill "would provide $16.1 billion for a six-month extension of increased federal Medicaid aid to states that would be phased out gradually, following a recommendation made by Collins. The increased aid, provided in the 2009 stimulus law (PL 111-5), expires Dec. 31, 2010 — halfway through the fiscal year of most states" (Smith, 8/2).

The Hill's Blog Briefing Room: "Democrats sought Monday to pressure Senate Republicans ahead of an expected vote on a state aid bill. ... The Senate will likely attempt to move forward with the bill on Monday, as it begins its last week of action before members leave for August's congressional recess. The state aid bill will need the support of at least one Republican to get the 59 votes to advance — assuming Democrats don't lose some of their own votes. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) has sided with the GOP on many similar economic packages." The Democratic National Committee is lending political reinforcements (O'Brien, 8/2).

Congress Daily: "The Senate will hold a cloture vote tonight on a bill to provide $16.1 billion to extend for six months increased Medicaid funding for states, known as FMAP." Though the outcome remains unclear, Democrats appear poised for a loss. "Senate Majority Leader Reid's communications office said 'Republicans are looking to head into August' by trying to kill the bill and other measures" (Friedman and Harder, 8/2).

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