The Chatter: House Dems and GOP oppose Senate's Medicaid fix; Chandler on endangered list

03/04/2011 02:10 PM

While Gov. Steve Beshear and Republican Senate President David Williams are at an impasse over how best to balance the Medicaid budget, the governor received some unlikely allies in the debate – House Republicans.

In a statement, House Republican leaders said they will not back the Senate’s plan that calls for cutting government spending across the board – including education programs – to cover the $100 million shortfall in the Medicaid budget.

“It is essential that we do everything we can as legislators to provide our children and our public schools with the best tools possible to help Kentucky grow and prosper,” said Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown.

“I and the other 41 members of the Kentucky House Republican Caucus do not believe it is good public policy to shift funding from education at a time when many of our school districts are counting pennies to balance their own budgets. It is a step in the wrong direction,” Hoover said in the statement.

Thad development followed a press conference Friday morning in which House Democrats stood with the governor to attack the Senate’s plan.

In a video posted on the governor’s website, Beshear said he will not allow Williams to balance the Medicaid budget “on the backs” of school children.

Beshear and the House Democrats proposed moving $166 million from the 2012 Medicaid budget to this year to fill in the gap. The governor said he wanted to move the extra $66 million to take advantage of a higher matching rate from the federal government.

Not all Democrats in the Senate opposed the Senate Republicans’ revision to the Medicaid plan. Sen. Joey Pendleton, D-Hopikinsville, and Sen. Ray Jones, D-Pikeville, voted with 21 Republicans and one independent for the Senate’s plan Wednesday night.

Chandler named to ‘endangered list’

U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler of Kentucky’s 6th congressional district is among the15 members national Democrats are most worried about in 2012.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee included Chandler on an “endangered list” of 15 congressional Democrats — including U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona, according to The Hill.-

Those “endangered” incumbents on list will receive extra campaign money and attention from the DCCC in 2012.

Chandler barely won re-election in 2010, besting Republican Andy Barr by 648 votes.

- Compiled by Kenny Colston


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