Senate Postpones Medicaid Vote 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

After caucusing for the better part of the day, Senate Republicans today tabled a vote to expand Medicaid as Senate Majority Leader Randy RICHARDVILLE (R-Monroe) tries to scrounge up more GOP support.

MIRS has learned that it seemed likely there were 20 votes in the chamber — providing the 12 Democrats were OK with a substitute on HB 4714 they haven’t seen. But Richardville still wants to hit 13 Republican votes, which would be half the caucus’ support.

Potentially complicating matters was the fact that Lt. Gov. Brian CALLEY is in the Upper Peninsula and unable to break a 19-19 tie. Although sources tell MIRS that Richardville doesn’t want to exercise that option, Calley’s absence did spark talk today.

The fact that Gov. Rick SNYDER is off on a trade mission to Israel didn’t go unnoticed, either, as he’s not around to twist arms. Instead, Budget Director John NIXON made the case to the Senate GOP caucus.

Josh PUGH of Progress Michigan tweeted this afternoon: “Maybe it would be easier to get Medicaid expansion through the @MISenate if the governor were actually in the country right now.”

As MIRS reported Monday, a substitute for HB 4714 has been crafted while votes were being rounded up (See “Senate Medicaid Sub Being Prepped,” 6/17/13).

A damper was put on the bill when three GOP senators — Sens. Howard WALKER (R-Traverse City), Goeff HANSEN (R-Hart) and Jack BRANDENBURG (R-Harrison Twp.) — were threatened with Tea Party primary challenges if they were “yes” votes.

The House last week passed HB 4714.