Tonight, the clock ran out on Medicaid being funded by the end of the 2008 Legislative Session.
On Friday, an agreement had been reached on how money would be spent (not on how we would find that money). Today that agreement went before each chamber of the legislature. The House, despite our opposition to taking out face-to-face, passed the agreement easily. However, a member of the Senate made a point of order on the agreement when it went to the Senate. The point of order was well taken, and the bill went back to conference.
At 11 p.m., with a midnight deadline looming, the conference committee between the House and Senate was held again. For the Senate, it was Nunnelee, Smith and Burton. For the House, it was Dedeaux, Holland and Stringer. After a few sharp disagreements, a sudden calm came over the whole room. Everyone knew an agreement was out of reach, and for the remainder of the hour, the six conferees from the House and Senate just looked at each other, knowing that neither side was going to budge.
So it's midnight, and we have no agreement. There will be a few who try to extend the session, but it's a ridiculous thought. We've spent three-and-a-half months looking at each other, knowing we had to make a decision, and we didn't do it. All that money we were going to save in shortening the session isn't being saved anymore. We shouldn't kid ourselves to think that suddenly someone will soften their line and reach a compromise by extending the session a few days. Nope, I think we can pretty much punch our tickets to come back in June- which is something that no one should be proud of.