Rendell breathes sigh of relief, as FMAP passes

Governor Rendell says he’s “extremely gratified” by today’s 61-38 FMAP cloture vote in the US Senate. The measure still faces two more votes before it goes to President Obama’s desk, but Rendell says there’s “no question” it gets at least 51 votes in the Senate tomorrow. He’s also confident the billions of dollars in federal aid will pass the House. “I think the Blue Dogs, who were the problem originally, were insisting it be paid for,” he said during a conference call. “Since it is paid for, I think we’ll get all of their votes.”

Democratic leaders closed federal tax loopholes and cut spending in other areas, in order to make sure the federal aid didn’t add to the deficit.

When the bill becomes law, it will fill about $600 million of Pennsylvania’s $850 million dollar budget gap. Rendell will meet with legislative leaders next Wednesday to discuss how to trim the remaining money from the budget. He had predicted more than 12,000 public employee layoffs if the FMAP bill failed, but refused to speculate how many people will lose their jobs due to the more limited round of cuts.

Whatever the total layoffs are, they’ll go into effect in September, he said.

About pubradiopolitics
Scott covers state government and politics for Pennsylvania's public radio stations, including WITF in Harrisburg, WHYY in Philadelphia and WDUQ in Pittsburgh.

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