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Congresswoman Betty McCollum's eNewsletter

August 13, 2010

This Week from Congresswoman Betty McCollum

Back in Washington: Congresswoman McCollum Votes to Save 161,000 Teacher Jobs and Improve Medicaid
State and local governments are being forced to slash their budgets in order to achieve fiscal balance. This is resulting in real and potential layoffs for tens of thousands of teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other essential public employees at the state and local levels. These cuts put the quality of education and the safety of our communities at serious risk.To prevent these layoffs and save jobs, Congresswoman McCollum returned to Washington this week to help pass the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act (H.R. 1586) which will save as many as 300,000 jobs nationwide. The Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act provides $26.1 billion in emergency assistance to states to keep 161,000 teachers in the classroom (including 2,800 teachers in Minnesota schools and over 400 teachers in the 4th District), provides $16.1 billion in health assistance for struggling states, and creates or saves 158,000 jobs in law enforcement and the private sector.

H.R. 1586 is fully paid for by reducing federal spending in other areas and by closing tax loopholes that encourage corporations to ship American jobs overseas. This legislation is projected to reduce the federal budget deficit by $1.4 billion over the next decade.

The House passed H.R. 1586 by a vote of 247-161 with only two Republicans joining Democrats in voting to save jobs.

Third Round of "Donut Hole" Checks En Route to Minnesota Seniors
As more seniors hit the Medicare prescription drug "donut hole," the third round of rebate checks is being mailed to thousands of seniors nationwide. Under the new health care law, seniors whose prescription drug costs fall in this gap in 2010 are receiving this one-time, tax-free $250 check. Minnesota seniors can expect this check to come in the near future.

In June 2010, over 80,000 seniors received the rebate check; in July, over 300,000 received the check; and now in early August, more than 375,000 are receiving it. The next round of checks will come later this month.

Congresswoman McCollum has been a strong proponent of the historic health care reform legislation and is closely monitoring the law's implementation.

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