Gov. Asa Hutchinson: three of the Tea Party Ten will back Medicaid budget via line-item veto plan | Arkansas Blog

Monday, April 18, 2016

Gov. Asa Hutchinson: three of the Tea Party Ten will back Medicaid budget via line-item veto plan

Posted By on Mon, Apr 18, 2016 at 3:45 PM

click to enlarge HUTCHINSON: Roped in three of the Tea Party Ten for his line-item scheme.
  • HUTCHINSON: Roped in three of the Tea Party Ten for his line-item scheme.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said today that he has the support of three of the ten senators currently threatening to shut down the Medicaid program to back off via the governor's weird trick approach to passing the Medicaid budget (if you're not a regular blog reader, see the details here). 

Hutchinson declined to name names, but Sen. Bart Hester and Sen. Blake Johnson publicly stated that they would go along with the plan last week, and Sen. Missy Irvin (who declined to comment) voted for the amendment that would start the plan in motion. 

If three of the Ten back the plan, it would amount to a total surrender: the "Arkansas Works" program would be implemented and the Ten would receive no policy concessions whatsoever. 

That would end the impasse and continue the Medicaid expansion, but the plan is only possible if the full "Arkansas Works" coalition buys in, including the entire Democratic caucus in both houses. Democrats have raised various questions and concerns: legal questions, questions about precedent, discomfort with the convoluted procedure, political worries about making a show vote against "Arkansas Works," reluctance to bail out the Ten, and other issues. Democratic lawmakers are communicating with each other and the governor's office today and there seems to be some momentum behind the plan. This morning Democrats met with the governor's staff on legal questions and the governor addressed the Black Caucus; both were described as positive and productive by all sides.

The Senate Democratic Caucus meets this afternoon. These things are fluid, and some Democratic lawmakers remain on the fence, but the mood is bullish at the Capitol: There's a solid chance that the line-item-veto strategy to continue the Medicaid expansion will continue this week. 

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