Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin will meet with president to talk about fiscal cliff

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, who is vice chairman of the National Governors Association, is one of seven governors from the group's executive committee who will meet next week with President Barack Obama.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: November 30, 2012 at 10:01 pm •  Published: December 1, 2012
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Gov. Mary Fallin will be among seven governors talking next week with the president about the effect the nation's looming fiscal cliff would have on the states.

Fallin, vice chairman of the National Governors Association, is among members of the group's executive committee who are to meet Tuesday with President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C.

“We're concerned about the federal monies the states receive, what kinds of cuts are we going to be getting to our state budgets,” she said. “We just don't know what Washington's going to do.

“If they don't come to an agreement over the next three weeks, … they're going to leave the states hanging,” she said.

Fallin, a Republican who last week rejected the Democratic president's proposals to expand the Medicaid health care program in Oklahoma and to establish an online marketplace for the uninsured to shop for health insurance, said politics won't be a factor in the trip, which is being arranged by the nonpartisan governors group.

“We have been telling Congress and we've been telling the president through the NGA that they must listen to governors because each state is different, unique,” she said. “We have our own problems that we deal with. … We don't want unfunded mandates passed down to the states.”

Other governors making the trip are Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat and National Governors Association chairman, Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Beebe, Hickenlooper and Dayton are Democrats. Herbert and Walker are Republicans.

What's at stake

It's estimated Oklahoma could lose $137 million in direct federal funding as a result of the fiscal cliff, or sequestration, which refers to automatic, governmentwide spending cuts set to take effect Jan. 1.

“I told all of my Cabinet secretaries months ago to take a look at all the federal monies that we receive in our various state agencies because we may well get cuts from the federal government because of the huge deficit that we have in our nation,” Fallin said, “and to be prepared to analyze where they would need to make those cuts.”



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