US & World

Senate approves Medicaid package, funding for teachers' jobs

Barbara Boxer talking to reporters in elevator, August 5, 2010.
Barbara Boxer talking to reporters in elevator, August 5, 2010.
Kitty Felde/KPCC

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California’s getting a summer gift package from Washington. Today the U.S. Senate approved a measure that sends $1.8 billion in federal Medicaid funding to California. But Democrats had to trade future food stamp benefits to make the deal work.

Next to nothing moves in Washington these days unless it reduces the federal deficit.

The Senate approved a $26 billion aid package to help states meet the cost of providing health care to the poor. But to seal the deal, Democrats had to find a way to pay for it. The measure cuts foreign tax credits, but it also rolls back nearly $12 billion in promised future food stamp increases.

Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California says there’s no change "whatsoever" in the food stamp program today. "And in 2014 we don’t anticipate we’re going to have to add anymore, unless there’s suddenly an increase in food prices and we’ll take care of it then."

The bill delivers nearly $2 billion to California for Medicaid, plus enough for school boards to save more than 16,000 teachers’ jobs.

The House returns to vote on the package next week.