Senate to vote on $26 billion in aid for desperate states

By Tami Luhby, senior writer

NEW YORK ( -- Senate Democrats are once again trying to push through a bill that would send $26 billion to needy states.

The measure contains $16 billion in additional Medicaid money and $10 billion in education funding to prevent teacher layoffs. State officials have been desperately lobbying their representatives, saying they need the money to shore up their budgets. President Obama weighed in Monday, asking lawmakers to pass the bill.

Lawmakers will take a procedural vote on Wednesday. It needs 60 votes to pass, meaning some Republicans would have to cross the aisle. If it passes this hurdle, a final vote could come late in the week, just before the Senate is scheduled to recess for the long August break.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had pushed back the vote by two days to amend the legislation after learning it would increase the deficit by $4.9 billion despite offset measures. The amended bill has no impact on the deficit.

The GOP, however, is not taking kindly to sending more aid to the states, saying the original $787 billion stimulus package was meant to do that. To top of page

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