Washington, DC—Senators Debbie Stabenow and Bob Casey joined Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue for a conference call this afternoon to discuss Democrats’ efforts to pass legislation that would ensure that states receive FMAP funding and would extend unemployment insurance assistance. Many states are struggling with budget challenges and they depend on the increased FMAP funding to pay for critical health services and to free other funds for essential services like firefighters and police officers. In addition, Senate Democrats have been fighting Republican obstruction for months to extend unemployment insurance and give economic certainty to millions of Americans who are still looking for work.
“For every one available job, there are six people looking for work, and yet my Republican colleagues continue to block this urgent unemployment extension. They are continuing to stall and delay, while over 300,000 people in Michigan, and 1.2 million Americans overall face losing this important safety net,” said Senator Stabenow. “It’s also critical FMAP funding be extended to ensure that our states continue to provide vital medical services for those most in need. Failing to do so will put thousands of jobs at risk and undermine our economic recovery efforts.”
“Once you get outside of Washington, helping states prevent layoffs and budget cuts has bipartisan support,” said Senator Casey. “The consequences for the economy and for the jobs of tens of thousands of people in Pennsylvania alone is too great. We have to get this done.”
“If we lose the FMAP money we will have to lay off 20,000 people. These would be teachers, state workers, fireman, policemen and caseworkers,” said Governor Rendell. “This effects three out of every five states and 47 governors have sent a letter to the Senate saying this extension is critical. Let’s pass this.”
“Without the FMAP extension, North Carolina will have to cut more than $500 million from this year’s budget – after already slicing 15 percent off our budget in less than two years’ time,” said Governor Perdue. “Failure to approve the FMAP and unemployment insurance extensions will send shockwaves throughout our safety net for working families and the elderly, and it will significantly hinder our efforts to invest in job-creation and small businesses — which are key to jump-starting North Carolina’s recovery.”