Medicaid Funding Still an Option in Stimulus Package
Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) on Thursday said a temporary funding increase for states' Medicaid programs could be included in the Senate's version of an economic stimulus package, CQ HealthBeat reports.
Baucus said, "Medicaid is also on the table, but it's not as high up." A tentative agreement on a stimulus package reached by the House and the Bush administration does not include Medicaid funding (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 1/24).
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that she is not "totally pleased" with the House package and added that lawmakers should pass additional legislation if the economy worsens (Yachnin/Billings, Roll Call, 1/24).
According to Roll Call, a mark up on the stimulus package has been scheduled by the Senate Finance Committee for next week, with the full Senate expected to complete work on the measure within 10 days. Reid said he expects the entire proposal to clear both chambers by Feb. 15, the deadline Democrats set for passage. If the Senate makes any changes to the bill, it will have to be returned to the House for approval before heading to the White House (Roll Call, 1/24).
Senate Democrats on Thursday said legislation that would reauthorize and expand the expired Trade Adjustment Assistance program might be included in a second package that addresses broader economic issues than the first bill's focus on tax rebates and small-business incentives, according to CongressDaily.
The TAA program expired in 2007 after Senate Republicans blocked a three-month extension of the program, but sufficient funding authority in the fiscal year 2008 omnibus appropriations bill will allow the program to continue.
Legislation approved by the House in October 2007 would have expanded coverage to service-sector workers and more manufacturing workers, increased job-training funds, fixed gaps in health insurance tax credits and provided increased unemployment insurance and tax incentives to encourage redevelopment of communities with heavy job losses (Cohn, CongressDaily, 1/25).