Two Republicans who have crossed party lines to work on Medicaid expansion say Governor Jay Nixon (D) needs to heed his own advice and work across lines to not veto the proposed transfer bill. They have written a letter to Nixon on the issue.
Representative Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City) and Representative Noel Torpey (R-Independence) say Nixon has in more than one State of the State Address called for working across political, geographical and other lines to solve problems. Barnes says that’s what they’re asking him to do with the transfer bill.
“That’s exactly what happened with Senate Bill 493,” says Barnes. “You saw a bill that the Senate passed 29-3, the House passed it with a bipartisan majority of 89 votes – obviously a little bit closer – but this is a bill which required a lot of work, a lot of compromises all around.”
Torpey says the bill isn’t perfect, but he wants to work with Nixon in the interim and next session to address the problems the governor has with the bill rather than see it vetoed.
“Education is such a complicated issue like Medicaid. I think it’s important to work together and to go forward,” says Torpey, “but to simply just blow a bill up, I don’t think that’s the right approach.”
Nixon says he can’t support a bill that would allow tax dollars to go to private schools. Barnes says that would make him like “legislative absolutists,” who make progress on key issues impossible.
The pair write, “Instead of insisting on a bill which is “perfect” to you, we ask that you read the bill as a whole. If you do, we believe you will find that the private option is only a small portion of the bill – a portion we believe is vital and necessary, but a small one nonetheless.”
Barnes says Medicaid and the transfer bill are similar in that both will require compromise, but he and Torpey both say their letter is not to suggest that they won’t work with Nixon on Medicaid if he doesn’t do what they want on the student transfer bill.