Beshear will use line-item veto on Medicaid bill to remove mandatory cuts in other state programs and school funding

Democrats appear to have prevailed in the State Capitol battle over the budget and Medicaid. (Update, March 25: Beshear issued the vetoes.)

After the Republican-controlled Senate passed a budget fix that included mandatory spending cuts across state government and basic school funding, and Gov. Steve Beshear said he would remove the cuts with line-item vetoes, the House passed the Senate’s bill and the legislature sent it to the governor.

Legislators will return April 6 to give each chamber a chance to override the promised vetoes, but in a rare floor speech before the 86-1 vote, House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, left, made clear that the House considers the deal done.

“He said the unusual maneuver was necessary because lawmakers must pass a bill that balances Medicaid before April 1 to avoid what Beshear has said would be 35 percent cuts in rates paid to Medicaid providers. Such a move, Stumbo said, would damage rural health care providers,” Tom Loftus and Deborah Yetter report for The Courier-Journal. “House Republican Leader Jeff Hoover of Jamestown urged House members to vote for the bill, saying that small health care providers will be spared devastating cuts on April 1 and education funding won’t be cut.”

The House wanted to adjourn the special session, but the Senate declined. Senate President David Williams, who is running to oust Beshear in the November election, “noted that the legislation approved by both chambers Thursday says that lawmakers will not be paid during the veto period. Each day of the session, which was in its 11th day Thursday, costs taxpayers about $63,500,” Beth Musgrave and Jack Brammer report for the Lexington Herald-Leader. (Read more)

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