Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
In 2004, a handful of Republican senators joined with Democratic senators to wrest control of the Arizona Senate chamber from an obstructionist Senate President. It hasn't happened since -- until today.
A bipartisan Senate coalition, led by the Republican majority leader John McComish no less, gave tentative approval Thursday to Gov. Jan Brewer’s proposal to restore and expand Medicaid (AHCCCS). Ariz. moves closer to Medicaid expansion:
[The coalition beat back more than a dozen hostile GOP amendments sponsored by Senate President Andy Biggs and Sen. Kelli Ward, in a failed attempt to weaken the measure.]
The measure awaits a formal vote of the full Senate, which is expected to come later today. If it passes, as expected, it’s likely to run up against a buzzsaw in the House, where the fate of Medicaid expansion, and the budget it’s attached to, remain uncertain.
Senate President Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, a steadfast opponent of the governor’s proposal, fought unsuccessfully to kill it with a slew of amendments, including requiring a two-thirds vote for approval, eliminating a hospital tax that will help pay for expansion, converting all state employee health insurance to Medicaid and repealing expansion if even one Medicaid patient is found to be an undocumented citizen.
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But again and again, two members of Biggs’ leadership team and three other GOP senators stood with the chamber’s 13 Democrats to defeat Biggs’ amendment. Majority Leader John McComish, Majority Whip Adam Driggs and Sens. Rich Crandall, Steve Pierce and Bob Worsley joined Democrats to approve the Medicaid amendment on an 18-12 vote.