The Boston Globe, July 25, 2010
STRUGGLING FAMILIES and their children across the country are breathing a little easier now that legislation to extend unemployment benefits has advanced. Massachusetts residents in the tens of thousands will benefit, and the state’s economy will percolate as these dollars are spent.
Unfortunately, Senator Scott Brown opposed extending this critical, short-term spending. He has another chance, however, to help revive the state from a lethargic economic recovery.
Legislation to extend FMAP — the federal medical assistance percentage — has been stalled in the Senate for weeks. The latest version of this bill includes $16 billion in fiscal relief to the states, and these funds are fully offset so they won’t increase the deficit. Without this support, Massachusetts faces $690 million in reduced revenue and an avalanche of cuts that are certain to further bury already vulnerable children and families.
Senator Brown gets it. He knows that extending FMAP is essential, and even introduced his own proposal just a few weeks ago. Now he needs to work with Senator John Kerry, resolve details, and move with urgency to get this extension passed before Congress takes its August recess.
Read editorial at Boston.com.
Jetta Bernier, Executive director
Massachusetts Citizens for Children
July 25, 2010