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CT Congressional Delegation: State Aid a Stimulus Priority
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Nearly the entire Connecticut congressional delegation met with the governor before they return to Washington to work on a federal stimulus bill, and they say bringing home money for Connecticut's cash-strapped state budget will be a top priority.

Senators Christopher Dodd and Joe Lieberman, and Congressmen John Larson, Chris Murphy, Jim Himes and Joe Courtney met with Governor Jodi Rell to talk about how to make sure the spending bill makes a big difference in Connecticut's economy.  

Representative Courtney says they know they have a tight deadline to make those decisions.

"One of the real takeaways is the fact that the clock is ticking for the governor to submit a budget address February 7, and the need to infuse as much help as we can in the short-term."

Governor Rell has asked towns, cities, and legislators to submit lists of projects that are ready to go if infrastructure money becomes available. Their deadline was December 31, and her office has a list of 1,300 so far.

But Representative Chris Murphy said those shovel-ready projects will not be the delegation's only priority. 

"As much as we're going to focus on infrastructure projects to put people back to work, we're going to also make sure we're doing everything we can to keep as many of these programs that help people in tough economic times going. That's the governor's intent that she made clear to us, and that's our promise to do everything we can."

Speciifically, the delegation is pushing for increased funding for state training programs and Medicaid to ease some of the pressure on the state budget. However, when President-Elect Barack Obama met with governors earlier this month, Rell said he was not enthusiastic about the idea of including Medicaid funding in a stimulus package.