On Dec. 16, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a $154 billion package of initiatives designed to promote economic recovery and job creation, including extended higher federal match funding for state Medicaid programs and a $1 billion investment in the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF). The vote was 217-212. The package – known as the Jobs for Main Street Act of 2010 – now moves to the Senate, which is expected to vote on the package in early January of 2010.
Advocates are strongly encouraged to contact their Senators to urge support for the House Jobs package (HR 2847). It is especially important for advocates to demand that Senators retain key investments in the House package for people living with serious mental illness including:
• $23.5 billion to extend the higher federal Medicaid match rate (known as FMAP) for states through June 2011. This higher match rate was put in place earlier this year as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). This higher FMAP has been critical in holding back additional cuts to mental health services at the state level (unless Congress acts, higher FMAP rates will expire in June 2010); and
• $1 billion investment in the NHTF to build and rehabilitate affordable rental housing targeted to extremely low-income households (including single adults with serious mental illness living on Supplemental Security Income, SSI). In addition to the $1 billion for the NHTF, the package includes $65 million for project-based rental assistance to ensure that rents are affordable households with extremely low incomes such as SSI beneficiaries. View more information on the NHTF.
All Senate offices can be reached toll-free by calling (877) 210-5351.