Hoping to squeeze out more federal funds, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg announced today that they will meet with White House officials and congressional leaders next week in the nation's capital.
The two leaders, at a joint news conference, stressed that their goal is to seek billions legitimately owed to the state, not a handout.
"We're not going to Washington, D.C., to ask for a bailout of California," Pérez said.
They released a list of specific health-related programs for which they hope to secure additional funds from the Obama administration, addressing issues from medical care for the poor to federal matching funds linked to a new quality assurance fee to be imposed on hospitals by the state.
With congressional leaders, Pérez and Steinberg plan to discuss issues ranging from federal reimbursement for incarceration of undocumented immigrants to supplemental funding for California's Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program that provides emergency housing, food vouchers and other basic support.
Pérez and Steinberg said they will leave for the nation's capital Monday and return by Thursday, hoping to lay the groundwork for commitments of perhaps $3 billion to $4 billion.
Steinberg said any new federal funds secured would help the state "chip away" at its projected $18.6 billion deficit.
"If the nation's economy is going to recover, California's economy must recover -- and sooner rather than later," he said.