Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sen. Melvin on Medicaid Expansion: "We're Not Going To Roll Over and Play Dead on This"

Posted By on Thu, May 16, 2013 at 8:32 PM

Sen. Al Melvin is promising GOP fireworks when the Arizona Senate goes to a third read vote on the budget, which was amended—against Senate President Andy Biggs' wishes—to include Medicaid expansion.

A GOP-led roll call vote on all of the Medicaid bills that would have put senators on the record for supporting or opposing the amendments was thwarted and followed by a hasty recess. Melvin said he was upset because he wanted senators' family names to be tied to their votes.

Senate President Andy Biggs left in a huff and was visibly agitated when he called recess.

Melvin does agree with Sen. Steve Farley on one thing: Both said they haven’t felt this way about the budget since former Gov. Janet Napolitano left the state.

For Farley that’s a win. For Melvin it’s a step back.

“It’s just like when we inherited this train wreck of Napolitano in '09 and it took us four years to whack $3 billion out of it,” Melvin said. “You shouldn’t have to do that every couple of years. You should keep it steady, but they’re caving.”

The SaddleBrooke Republican is at a loss as to why Gov. Jan Brewer wants the expand Medicaid when 27 states are fighting Medicaid expansion.

“I can’t figure it out to save my life,” Melvin said. She’s going against her own party."

He’s not pleased with the five Republicans (Sen. John McComish, Sen. Rich Crandall, Sen. Bob Worsley, Sen. Steve Pierce and Sen. Adam Driggs) that he says rolled on their party either. He promises there will be a “reckoning.”

“I hope they pay and I hope they pay with their seats,” Melvin said.

He was especially perturbed with Senate Majority Leader John McComish, R-Phoenix, who sponsored the Medicaid expansion amendment.

“What’s really sad and pathetic is they’re in our so-called leadership and there will be an accounting on that too—if not immediately, eventually,” Melvin said.

Because those five felt so emboldened, the GOP has had to “rely on parliamentary procedures and other things to stop this from happening,” Melvin said.

Melvin commended Senate President Andy Biggs’ on his quasi-filibuster earlier today.

Biggs read from a bag of papers for more than 30 minutes regaling members with different analogies and vignettes about why Medicaid expansion was a bad movie and the federal government is a “dubious partner.”

“I thought it was historic and I gave him my full attention,” Melvin said.

The Senate heads back to the floor in moments and it will be a show, Melvin said.

“We ought to charge admission,” Melvin said. "It’s going to be good. It’s going to real good. We’re not going to roll over and play dead on this.”

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