Monday, May 13, 2013

Brewer vs. GOP Lawmakers: No More Mrs. Nice Gov

Posted By on Mon, May 13, 2013 at 2:00 PM

Gov. Jan Brewer told the press on Friday that lawmakers might as well stop sending her bills because she’s not signing anything until she gets a budget that includes the Medicaid expansion she’s been fighting for since she delivered her State of the State speech.

From the Arizona Republic's Mary Jo Pitzl:

Gov. Jan Brewer has told lawmakers she’s done signing bills until they get moving on Medicaid expansion and the state budget.

“The governor believes it’s time to buckle down and get working on Medicaid and the budget,” said her spokesman, Matthew Benson.

State Rep. Bruce Wheeler, a central-Tucson Democrat who serves as minority whip in the House, says Brewer’s move is overdue.

“It’s about time,” Wheeler says. “Nothing was moving. Now this will certainly spur something to start happening.

The stalemate over Medicaid expansion has held up budget negotiations this year. So far, GOP leaders haven’t even gone through the pretense of running a budget through the appropriations committees in either chamber.

We’ll see what happens next. Brewer’s threat comes a bit late in the session; since she’s signed a lot of key bills so far, so many lawmakers feel as if they’ve already gotten what they want. (A key exception is the election overhaul pushed by Sen. Michele Reagan.)

But the budget, which is entwined in the Medicaid expansion, is the big job left to get done and Brewer has the ability to wait out lawmakers on that one.

But we’re hearing that some deep pockets who oppose expansion may be gearing up to start spending against GOP lawmakers who are crossing party lines to support it. And national Republican Party officials are giving every sign that they'll be running hard against Obamacare in 2014, so Republican lawmakers who help advance the Affordable Care Act in Arizona will open themselves up to attack on that front.

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