Governor Ed Rendell says the U.S. Senate has until this evening to pass a federal medical assistance bill. If the measure doesn’t clear, he says he’ll move forward with layoffs.
Initially, Rendell warned of 20-thousand layoffs, if the federal assistance doesn’t become law.
On a conference call, he scaled the figure down to 12-thousand jobs.
"We went through this precisely because we got information back from school districts, from counties, from localities, from the loss of money they would incur here. So that’s how we came up with a tighter number."
Rendell still wants school districts to get enough of a state assistance increase to cover inflation.
The latest Senate bill is about 70 percent of the initial total, so even if the measure passes, Pennsylvania would only get about 600 million dollars – not the 850 the state budget counts on.
Rendell says if the Senate doesn’t pass the legislation, he’ll immediately begin making cuts. The reductions would be announced in two weeks, and the layoffs would go into effect in early September.
California Senator Barbara Boxer joined Rendell on the call, and says she’s “very optimistic” Democrats have the 60 votes they need to pass the bill.
Earlier this week, Pennsylvania Democrat Bob Casey said he wasn’t sure his party could break a Republican filibuster.