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Nevada one of the States with a Bundle of Green Riding on House Vote

May 20, 2010

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Nevada is one of 24 states that will be paying very close attention to an expected vote today in Congress on the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Bill. Included in that proposal is an extension of funding for both Medicaid and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.

Jon Sasser, statewide advocacy coordinator for Legal Services, says Nevada lawmakers banked on these extensions when they formulated the state budget, and the well-being of many Nevada children and families will be riding on the vote.

"If this vote does not pass, we will have a hole in the Nevada budget of over 100 million dollars between now and the end of this biennium that will have to be made up with cuts to other vital programs."

House Republican Whip, Eric Cantor (R-VA), conducted a poll concerning which funds should be cut, identifying Temporary Assistance to Needy Families as the most-ripe. Sasser says in Nevada, those funds go to child welfare and autism.

At the Clark County Department of Family Services, director Thomas Morton says his staff currently meets national standards for having just enough investigators to handle child abuse claims, but if Congress does not approve the funding extension, that could change quickly.

"The problem is, if you take $3 million out of the mix, and you were to take that entirely out of investigators; that would increase the investigative case loads by as much as 60 to 80 percent."

Morton says the $22 million in funding for needy families is small in terms of the federal budget, but cutting that funding would have major consequences for children in Nevada for generations to come.

"What you are going to see is a higher prevalence of kids in the Juvenile Justice System who come out and go into the Adult Correctional System, who end up with adult mental health problems, who end up homeless on the street."

A vote on the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Bill, HR 4213, is scheduled for today.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NV