Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wednesday Roundup: Money is on its way

Topping the news today are the reports that Congress passed the jobs bill, meaning $655 million will be coming to Massachusetts. In the Telegram, John Monahan reports that the money will be used to fully fund Chapter 70 education aid and to restore funding to a number of social programs threatened in the FY2011 budget passed late last month. Third District Congressman James McGovern (D-Worcester) spoke in favor of the bill on the House floor:
“At a time when states like Massachusetts are starting to see unemployment rates decrease, now is not the time to pull the rug out from under them,” Mr. McGovern said. “If we were to fail our states and not enact this extension, 2,400 teaching, police and firefighter jobs in Massachusetts would be at risk.”
However, McGovern wasn't completely happy with the final bill. In order to make the $26 billion package deficit-neutral, the House offset some of the spending by including cuts to food stamp programs. According to The Hill, McGovern has pledged to restore the food stamp funds and find another way to offset the spending.

For his part, McGovern has been stimulating the local economy not with food stamps, but with food service. Shaun Sutner reports (second item) that McGovern has rolled up large tabs at a number of restaurants in the Third District. Among those listed in the report was a nearly $20,000 bill at a restaurant in Swansea.

Fifth Congressional District
The Lowell Sun gives Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell) credit (or blame, if you prefer) for "push[ing] through an emergency $26 billion jobs bill." Tsongas outlined how the funding would help Massachusetts:
Tsongas explained that the Recovery Act included increased federal support to states to maintain the Medicaid program, due to the fact that as unemployment went up during the recession, more people were qualifying for the low-income health insurance program and states were facing a diminished tax base with which to meet that need.

"Those Medicaid funds are scheduled to run out at the end of this calendar year even though the economy is still on shaky ground and states have not started to see a significant increase in their revenues," Tsongas said.
In other news, Tsongas is also worried that plans to widen I-93 from Andover to New Hampshire may squash plans to build a new interchange that would service businesses in the area.

Tsongas is also touting the endorsement of Veterans and Military Families for Progress.

Sam Meas (R-Haverhill) continues to get national recognition for his compelling personal story, this time in a Richmond Times-Dispatch profile. Meas lived in Richmond for a time as a teenager.

In a column in the Billerica Townie News, Tom Weaver (R-Westford) outlines his plan to cut $596 billion from the federal budget.

Worcester and Middlesex Senate District
The jobs bill could have a trickle down effect on the state legislature. Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (D-Leominster) told the Sentinel and Enterprise that she doubts the legislature will be called back into session to debate the appropriations coming from Congress. If the legislature did reconvene in a special seesion, it could also choose to reconsider the casino bill, which Flanagan believes is dead.

11th Worcester House District
Sutner looks at the race between the seventysomething Kevin Byrne (D-Shrewsbury) and the thirtysomething Matthew Beaton (R-Shrewsbury), and explains how Byrne will make the November ballot despite being left off the primary slate (third item).

Sutner also looks at the unconventional approach of Daniel Dubrule (R-Ashburnham), who is refusing to speak to area rod and gun clubs despite being "a gun owner and professed Second Amendment supporter."

Second Congressional District
Rep. Richard Neal gave a wide-ranging interview with WAMC Northeast Public Radio. The interview ran in three parts earlier this week. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Governor's Council
Fran Ford (D-Paxton) took a populist tone against the propsed closing of courthouses in Leominster and Westborough, anguing in a Telegram op-ed that "it is past the time when we in Central and Western Massachusetts need to tell Boston that 'enough is enough.'"

Finally, look for a major announcement about the future of this site tomorrow.
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