Joint Budget Committee likely won't take up Medicaid line-item-veto scheme tomorrow | Arkansas Blog

Monday, April 18, 2016

Joint Budget Committee likely won't take up Medicaid line-item-veto scheme tomorrow

Posted By on Mon, Apr 18, 2016 at 7:56 PM

TEAGUE: Line-item-veto strategy is "still viable" but JBC won't run it tomorrow.
  • TEAGUE: Line-item-veto strategy is "still viable" but JBC won't run it tomorrow.
Joint Budget Committee Chair Larry Teague (D-Nashville) said that he did not expect the committee to take up the governor's line-item-veto scheme tomorrow. 

The governor has proposed a plan to continue the Medicaid expansion and end the budget impasse. It's weird: Medicaid expansion proponents would allow the aginners to include an amendment ending the Medicaid expansion that the governor would then line-item veto (for details on the convoluted strategy, see here). 

The gambit failed on Thursday when Democrats, most of whom only knew about the plan for a matter of hours, balked. The original idea was to try again tomorrow.

Democrats have warmed to the idea and many who were hesitant on Thursday now say that they support it or are leaning that way. 

The Democratic Senate caucus met this afternoon and Teague said that Democrats were generally open to using the strategy, or perhaps some altered version of it. "Everybody in the Senate caucus is committed to getting this done," he said. "If the line-item veto is part of it, then that's okay."

However, there are a lot of moving parts here, and Teague said the amendment likely wouldn't be taken up tomorrow. However, Teague said that the overall concept of the line-item veto plan was "still viable."

One issue that is likely still being worked out: legal questions about the language in the appropriation that will set the line-item scheme in motion. Democratic lawmakers are actively working with the governor's staff on potential tweaks. 

And there are likely further machinations and complications on top of that. 

Teague said that continuing the Medicaid expansion, one way or the other, "is going to happen. In my opinion it's the single most important vote that I've had since I've been here. It's going to happen. We'll get it done. It's just complicated." 

Teague said that he thought that the line-item-veto approach "will still be part of the formula." 

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