House passes budget, breaking impasse over Medicaid expansion
The Latest on an impasse in Kansas over the state budget and Medicaid expansion (all times local):
Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly's effort to expand Medicaid in Kansas this year has fallen apart.
Moderate Republican legislators gave up Saturday on getting a plan through the GOP-controlled Legislature this year, ending an impasse that was holding up approval of the next state budget.
The House voted 79-45 Saturday for an $18.4 billion spending blueprint for the budget year beginning in July. Democrats and moderate Republicans held up the budget in the House for a day in hopes of forcing an expansion vote in the Senate.
The House passed an expansion plan in March but it remained stuck in a Senate committee. GOP leaders succeeded in delaying action until next year.
The proposed budget went to the Senate, where its approval would send it to Kelly.
Top Republican legislators in Kansas are trying to break an impasse over the budget and Medicaid expansion by suggesting it creates problems with education funding.
They're telling colleagues that the impasse threatens the state's position in a lawsuit over public education funding just as the state could be close to ending it.
Lawmakers convened Saturday with expansion supporters blocking a budget in the House to force a vote on a House-passed expansion plan in the Senate.
Lawmakers approved a school funding increase last month aimed at satisfying a Kansas Supreme Court order last year. But the budget includes most of the state's $4 billion-plus in funding for schools for the 2019-2020 school year.
The Supreme Court plans to hear arguments Thursday on whether the school funding increase is sufficient.
The Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature is locked in an impasse over a Medicaid expansion plan favored by Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.
It's been unable to pass a new budget that will keep state government operating after June.
Lawmakers were set to return Saturday to the Statehouse after the House on Friday rejected two different versions of a proposed $18.4 billion spending blueprint for the budget year beginning in July.
Democrats and moderate Republicans blocked them in hopes of forcing a vote in the Senate on an expansion plan.
Expansion advocates are pushing legislators to expand Medicaid health coverage to as many as 150,000 more Kansas residents now. Top Republicans argue that legislators need more time to get the details right and want to pass an expansion bill next year.
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5/4/2019 2:56:05 PM (GMT -5:00)
Governor Laura Kelly released the following statement:
“For many of our neighbors struggling with illness or disability, time is something they do not have. Due to the failure tonight, thousands of Kansans will go without health care for another year. The Kansas House Democrats stood strong together against pressure, threats, and coercion in an effort to help more Kansans get access to affordable healthcare. I commend them for their determination on behalf of our families.”