Budget Update: Happening Now

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

David Safier and Tom Prezelski reported on the existience of a possible "secret' budget deal in the works in the Senate earlier. The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports that the Senate Rules Committee is meeting at 1:00 p.m. today to allow for the late introduction of budget bills. Heads up, people. Sources: Senate to move on budget this week:


Sources confirmed that the Rules
Committee will meet at 1 p.m. today to allow for the introduction of the
budget package. It would then be assigned to the Senate Appropriations
Committee by Senate President Andy Biggs when the chamber meets for
today’s session at 1:30 p.m.

The Senate, which for the past several weeks has operated on a
three-day work schedule, intends to approve a budget bill by Thursday,
according to the source
. The plan is for senators to hear the budget
package in the Appropriations Committee on Wednesday and then advance it
to the floor for debate and a vote on Thursday.

It’s unclear if the bill would include Gov. Jan Brewer’s proposed Medicaid expansion plan, a measure that Biggs opposes.

But it’s possible that the Medicaid expansion plan would be offered as a floor amendment to any one of the budget bills.

For Medicaid, Biggs may be outnumbered in the Senate, where at least
three Republican lawmakers support the plan. It would expand eligibility
to allow individuals with annual earnings of up to 133 percent of the
federal poverty line to enroll in the Arizona Health Care Cost
Containment System.

Combined with the 13 Democrats, who are assumed to overwhelmingly
support Medicaid expansion, there may be enough votes in the Senate to
add the expansion proposal to the budget package.

Typical Tea-Publican chicanery . . . Budget hearings conducted without any prior public notice or public testimony. Any media villagers in the vicinity of the capitol need to get your butt over to the Senate.

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