Representative John Lewis Celebrates the Passage of Jobs Bill
Washington, DC-Today, Congressman John Lewis, 5th District, GA, voted to save and create nearly 320,000 jobs across the country. This vote helped states prevent the layoffs of teachers, police officers, firefighters, and nurses. H.R. 1586, the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act, which passed the House with a vote of to 247 to 161, also reduces the national debt by $1.4 billion over a period of 10 years.
"Passage of this legislation sends more than $300 million to the State of Georgia keeping at least 5,700 police officers, firefighters, teachers, and nurses employed," said Congressman Lewis. "It is only right that we offer the states assistance in these troubled times and help to lift their financial burdens," added the Congressman.
The funds are needed immediately in Georgia since most of the public schools are opening this week. Now school districts will be able to rehire teachers and stop planned layoffs. By saving jobs, this bill improves the quality of our children's education.
This bill prevents the state from making deep cuts in the Medicaid reimbursements to medical professionals who serve Medicaid patients and preserves the medical safety net that is so desperately needed as more people lose their jobs and rely on Medicaid.
Under current law, the federal Medicaid matching rate is increased by 6.2 percentage points for all States, and by additional percentage points for states with high unemployment. These temporary increases were enacted in the Recovery Act in February 2009 in response to the increased Medicaid caseloads and decreasing state revenues resulting from the recession. The increase is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2010. The bill continues the additional federal assistance for six months, but would phase the level of assistance down. For January - March, 2011, the federal Medicaid matching rate would be increased by 3.2 percentage points for all states, and for April - June, 2011, the federal Medicaid matching rate would be increased by 1.2 percentage points for all states. For the same six-month period, states with high unemployment will continue to receive the additional percentage points, as they do under current law. This will ensure that states continue to receive increases throughout state Fiscal-Year 2011.
Earlier this year, 42 governors wrote to the Congress asking for assistance. The funding in the bill is supported by a majority of the nation's Governors, including Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue, and by numerous organizations, including the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, National Association of Counties, and the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations.
In addition to providing funding for states the bill closes loopholes that encourage corporations to ship jobs overseas. American companies have devised schemes that shift the burden of their foreign income tax to the U.S. Federal government. These transactions enable companies to operate offshore with essentially little or no tax liability to either the U.S. or the foreign government. This loophole will be closed in 2011.
The fund will be administered by the Department of Education. After reviewing state applications, the Department will make formula allocations to states based on total population and school age population. The states will then distribute the funds to school districts. In the event that the Governor does not submit an approval application for funds to the Department of Education, the bill directs Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to bypass the state government and make awards directly to other entities within the state.