Sequester breakdown frustrates Florida House speaker

3:38 PM, Mar 1, 2013   |    comments
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Tallahassee, Florida - President Obama and Congress were unable to reach a sequester deal to prevent automatic spending cuts that start to take effect Friday.

That means in the coming weeks and months, Florida will lose federal funding for such things as military readiness, teachers and schools, Head Start early learning services and work-study jobs for low-income college students.

The president says the cuts won't be felt right away but they will become a drag on the economy.

State leaders are concerned about budget cuts resulting from sequester. House Speaker Will Weatherford, like many Floridians, is frustrated with the inability to get things done in Washington.

"Once again the federal government remains to create an aura of uncertainty. There is an aura of uncertainty that continuously comes out of Washington, D.C. and it's probably a big reason why we're so skeptical about things like Medicaid expansion."

Weatherford is skeptical that the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of expanding Medicaid for states, as promised for three years under the Affordable Care Act. That federal support would phase down to 90 percent by 2020.

The expansion would add about a million uninsured Floridians to the state's Medicaid system so they could have health coverage.

Gov. Rick Scott has surprised conservatives with his support for the expansion, but state lawmakers will get the final say on that question.

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