Rendell defends FMAP decision

Governor Rendell is defending the decision to keep $850 million of tentative federal aid in this year’s state spending plan. The governor says he and legislative leaders have developed a contingency plan, in case Congress doesn’t pass a bill authorizing the payment by months’ end.

Rendell has warned thousands of state workers will lose their job if the federal bill isn’t passed.

Meantime, the governor says he won’t sign Pennsylvania’s budget until next week, at the earliest. He says he can’t legally sign the spending bill until the General Assembly passes its fiscal code, which authorizes taxes. Leaders are still negotiating the bill’s details. A vote on the measure could come tomorrow or Saturday.