Capitol Comments

The NY Times reports that Democrats failed again on Thursday, June 17, to win enough votes to move forward on approving the enhanced Medicaid match extension that many states are counting on in their FY 2011 budgets. “We’re not going to give up,” said Senator Harry Reid.

Shy of 60 votes in the Senate, a still shaky economy, and November elections all lead to the forecast that climate change legislation, featuring a cap and trade element, is unlikely to happen in 2010.

Despite losing a vote yesterday, U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has vowed to continue to fight to add the six-month extension of the enhanced Medicaid match to HR 4213, the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act. The act will also extend unemployment benefits that have already run out for some Americans.

Senate Democrats are reported to be shrinking...

Where Americans are Moving

Immigration may be getting the big headlines, but probably more impactful for cities and states is the migration within the United States - both of people and of wealth. Forbes.com has a new interactive map detailing county-to-county migration patterns across the country...in many cases down to the person. How many poeple moved into or out of your community? Where did they come from or where did they go?

Today Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced the availability of $250 million to expand the primary health care workforce. The funds are part of the federal reform legislation passed in March.

The funds will be used to expand the number of primary care physicians by 500 by 2015 and support training for additional physician assistants and nurse practitioners. States will be granted $5 million to plan and...

In April I wrote about offshore drilling and how, politically, it wasn’t about the oil, given that the estimated recoverable reserves were unlikely to substantially impact our reliance on foreign sources of petroleum (the EIA Annual Energy Outlook 2010 assumes import reliance will remain near 50% through 2035, down from 57% in 2008); it was about securing votes for climate change legislation. 

Last week I attended the Department of Energy’s Solar Boot Camp at its National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden, CO.  The 3-day intensive training was held for the energy staff from those organizations that support state officials.

Illinois, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Tennessee are each one step closer to joining to Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children.  In each state legislators overwhelming passed the compact, which attempts to ease educational issues associated with the frequent moves of military families.  To find out more about the compact or to learn if your state is already a member please click here.

Last week, I spoke with Mike Chalmers of USA Today for an article that ran in Wednesday's paper about states seeking alternatives to roadside memorials. Chalmers wrote about how Delaware has a memorial garden at a state rest area that provides a safe and tasteful alternative to the makeshift roadside memorials that honor victims of fatal traffic accidents but that sometimes pose safety hazards themselves. I told Chalmers that states will likely look to duplicate what Delaware is doing because it provides a sensible solution to what has proven to be a difficult balancing act for states.

Worst case scenarios abound if Congress fails to extend for another six months the enhanced Medicaid match begun by the 2009 stimulus. CSG’s recent survey found that over half the states have already counted on the extension, from January 1 until June 30, 2011, in their budget deliberations for FY 2011. The Senate appears poised to put the extension back in the so-called “tax extender” bill next week.

Pages