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The Associated Press August 4, 2010, 11:47AM ET

Senate Medicaid vote affects Washington state

An upcoming U.S. Senate vote on Medicaid funding is being closely watched by Gov. Chris Gregoire because the decision could prompt her to cut state spending or call for a special session of the Washington Legislature.

Sen. Patty Murray spoke on the Senate floor Wednesday urging colleagues to vote for her proposed amendment to avoid Medicaid cuts. It would provide $16 billion to states, of which $320 million would go to Washington. Murray's amendment also would send some money to school districts to avoid teacher layoffs.

Murray called it "common sense legislation" to "put families above partisan politics."

If the money doesn't come through, Gov. Gregoire will decide whether to call a special session to adjust the state budget.

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