Joint Budget passes amended appropriation to implement governor's line-item-veto scheme to pass Medicaid expansion | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Joint Budget passes amended appropriation to implement governor's line-item-veto scheme to pass Medicaid expansion

Posted By on Tue, Apr 19, 2016 at 2:42 PM

The Joint Budget Committee today voted 41-11 to pass the amendment that will put the governor's scheme to continue Medicaid expansion into action. The appropriation, as amended, passed on a voice vote. 

The amendment was revised from the original gimmick, based on suggestions from Democratic lawmakers, in order to make it more likely to withstand a lawsuit. 

With this amendment attached, the expectation is that the Medicaid appropriation can move forward. The appropriation will likely be run in the Senate tomorrow, where three of the Tea Party Ten have agreed to vote for it and end the budget impasse. 

The amendment pretends to end "Arkansas Works," the governor's plan to continue the private option Medicaid expansion. The governor will then line-item veto it so that "Arkansas Works" can continue. 

Sen. Linda Chesterfield and Sen. Joyce Elliott both voted for the amendment despite their frustration with the governor over the unrelated matter of the firing of Little Rock School superintendent Baker Kurrus. Sen. Stephanie Flowers, another member of the Legislative Black Caucus, declined to vote. Other than Flowers, nearly everyone backing "Arkansas Works" voted for the amendment (including all Democrats other than Flowers). The dead-end aginners like Sen. Alan Clark voted against it.

Every Democratic lawmaker I've spoken to says they'll back the amended appropriation. Stuff  changes fast but looks like it's all over but the cryin'. 

Updates soon.  

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