SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — On Friday (June 4), Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger sent the following letter to the California Congressional Delegation urging their support in extending the temporary enhanced Federal Medicaid Assistance Payment for California through June of 2011 to help the state avoid making further cuts to Medicaid, education and social services spending:
June 4, 2010
Dear Members of the California Congressional Delegation,
I am writing with great urgency to request that Congress include an extension of the temporary enhanced Federal Medicaid Assistance Payment (FMAP) through June of 2011 as proposed in the President’s budget. It is my understanding that, while the proposed extension was included in H.R. 4213 up until last Thursday, this important provision has been removed, and that there is some uncertainty as to when Congress will address this issue.
Simply put, this extension is critical to California. We have done the hard work here at home. California leaders have made more than $57 billion in spending reductions in the last three years alone to address the effects of this national recession on our budget. We are facing another $19.1 billion shortfall this year. The cuts I have proposed this year to close this remaining budget gap are devastating. If Congress fails to extend the enhanced FMAP rate in the coming weeks, we will be forced to add another $1.8 billion in spending cuts to make up for the loss of those federal funds.
California has already made deep cuts in Medicaid, education and social services spending. We have, in fact, been threatened by federal agencies to take back billions in federal stimulus dollars if we cut spending much further in some programs. We have been joined by 22 states in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to give us relief from federal mandates so that we can live within the resources available to us. It is untenable for the state to be forced to spend at federally mandated levels while under greater restrictions on our ability to cut spending. The human impact of requiring us to find another $1.8 billion in spending cuts to replace federal funding that was designed to help states avoid deep cuts to safety net programs during this economic crisis is both cruel and counterproductive.
I understand the need to pay for and restrain federal spending. I support restraining federal spending. But cutting the only funding designed to help states maintain the very safety net programs Congress mandates us to preserve will have devastating consequences.