State Leaders Making "Good Case" for Fed Payback - NBC Bay Area

State Leaders Making "Good Case" for Fed Payback



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    WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 23: The U.S. Capitol is shown December 23, 2009 in Washington, DC. The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on final passage of their national healthcare legislation tomorrow, Christmas Eve. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento's Darrell Steinberg, president pro tem of the California Senate, said Thursday he is optimistic that the federal government will come through with money to help offset California's massive budget deficit.

    Steinberg, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Assembly Speaker Karen Bass are in Washington, D.C., this week meeting with officials. The state is anticipating a $20 billion deficit.

    "I think the feds will be very, very helpful because we've made the case in a bipartisan way," said Steinberg, a Democrat.

    He said he was initially unsure how the Californians would be received, especially as Washington focuses on the election of Republican Scott Brown to a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts formerly held by Edward Kennedy.

    But he said officials in Washington seem to recognize that the nation's recovery from recession is linked to improvement in California's economy.

    "California has really been hit hardest of any state in the country with this recession," Steinberg said.

    Schwarzenegger has compiled a list of proposals totaling $6.9 billion that he said Washington owes California. Otherwise, he'll recommend cutting or eliminating several programs that provide a safety net for the state's poor and disabled.

    Bass, D-Los Angeles, had been critical of the governor's confrontational tone toward California's members of Congress.

    Steinberg on Thursday said Schwarzengger has been "doing fine" on this trip, but noted that the governor has also recently been "provocative."

    "Everybody has their own style," Steinberg said. "I think for the speaker and myself, we prefer to come back here and to work in partnership with our members of Congress and our United States senators."

    Steinberg added that he is focused now on getting results.

    "What's important is that we work together and that we actually deliver for California," Steinberg said. "That's what's most important."

    Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer told reporters Wednesday that the state's congressional delegation already was working on the majority of Schwarzengger's requests, such as more federal funding for Medicaid.

    Boxer emphasized that getting extra money for California would be part of a package designed to help all states because many face similar financial woes. contributed to this report.