While it remains unclear exactly how much federal money will be approved for infrastructure projects in the state, Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell and Connecticut’s Democratic Congressional delegation met at the governor’s residence Wednesday to talk about how they will work together in the coming months as Congress fashions a second economic stimulus package.
US Senator Joseph Lieberman said he expects the 111th Congress to have the stimulus package on president-elect Barack Obama’s desk before the end of his first week in office.
In an effort to get Connecticut ready for the federal stimulus package, Rell asked local officials to send her a list of “shovel ready” projects. The deadline for cities and towns to submit their “shovel ready” projects to Rell ends at 4 p.m. today.
As of Wednesday afternoon Rell said she had received proposals for about 1,300 projects
The Congressional delegation and Rell also talked about the need for an increase in Medicaid reimbursement.
Speaker-elect Chris Donovan, D-Meriden, who met with the Congressional delegation at the legislative office building Wednesday afternoon, said Medicaid funding is the quickest way for the federal government to get money to the state.
However, when Rell returned from her meeting with president-elect Obama in Philadelphia said she he was hesitant to approve an increase in Medicaid funding.
Back on Dec. 2 Rell said Obama listened to what the governors had to say about Medicaid reimbursements and told them there may be some money for that, but was hesitant to approve an increase in funding for a short period of time. Rell said the governor’s let him know an increase in Medicaid dollars may be beneficial if unemployment continues to grow.
US Rep. John Larson said Obama was probably being circumspect about the Medicaid funding. He said his office has been working with Obama’s transition team on this and strongly suspects “Medicaid reimbursement will be uppermost in the recovery package.”
In addition to infrastructure improvements and Medicaid funding, the second stimulus may include an increase in unemployment benefits for the states.