By Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musings
This week at the legislature started quietly – everybody knew stuff
was happening, but it was all out of public view. No one knew when the
stalemate over the state's budget was going to break, just that it was
going to happen soon.
Turns out "soon" meant "Tuesday".
Some of Tuesday's events -
…The Republicans scheduled a House Appropriations Committee meeting
for early Thursday (8 a.m., HHR1) to consider the House's version of a budget
in the form of strike-everything amendments to the package of budget
bills passed by the Senate.
…House Speaker Andy Tobin
(R-Paulden) then adjourned the session of the House until Thursday, in
an apparent attempt to gain an edge in the fight over the budget and
…Arizona Governor Jan Brewer called them all into a special session to force the passage of a budget and Medicaid restoration.
…And the tea party types EXPLODED –
Antenori and Gould are former legislators; Biggs and Tobin should be.
Anyway. on Wednesday,
the outrage turned into full-scale whinery during the COW sessions
(Committees of the Whole) in the respective chambers of the lege.
the Senate, they excoriated the governor for "hijacking" the
"democratic process" (Sen. Judy Burges) and tried to derail the budget
with scads of proposed amendments, some overtly hostile, some seemingly
innocuous. All voted down.
Senate COW is done; all parts of the budget passed. The Senate will meet in Third Read (final approval) session on Thursday.
to all of the MSM and legislative types who tweeted from the floor of
the Senate. I may have two eyes and two ears, but that isn't enough to
watch and listen to, and understand, two livestreams at one time.)
in the House, the debate has become a kabuki theater of sorts – tea
party type Republicans have been demanding that the less extreme
Republicans who are working with the Democrats and the Governor stand to
answer questions. The less extreme Rs have declined to do that, so the
tea party types have one of their compatriots stand in, to proffer
criticism of the other Rs, in the form of a faux-answer.
As of this writing, they are taking a break in the House before taking on Medicaid restoration.
To sum up the non-Medicaid debate thus far:
party types decry the "unnecessary abruptness" of the special session.
Ignoring the fact that they've had more than five months to do this but
waited until there are about two weeks left in the fiscal year
to….delay the budget even longer.
With their hand
forced by the special session, the tea party types have taken to
criticizing the "lack of tranparency" of the budget process. Ignoring
the fact that most of the last decade's worth of budgets have been done
with as much transparency, and when Democrats protested, they just
laughed at the Ds.
The tea party types have been reduced to opposing provisions in the BRBs (budget reconciliation bills, or changes to law necessary to make the budget work) that they have supported, even sponsored, earlier in the session. Ignoring the blatant hypocrisy.
In other words, they are opposing everything in the budget, just because it is in the budget.
of right now, rumors/expectations are that the lege will adjourn sine
die sometime Thursday, but that will only happen if the budget passes
first. If the tea party types are successful in their efforts to derail
the state budget and Medicaid restoration, anything could happen.