House Republicans used their majority muscle to force through some major bills in the waning hours of the legislative session, frustrating the leader of the minority party.
Rep. Jeff Harris (D-Columbia) leads the Democrats in the House. He spent most of the last week of the legislative session frustrated as Republicans cut off debate and took other measures to move legislation before the session ended. Harris accuses Republicans of making the Medicaid cuts of 2005 permanent by pushing Governor Blunt’s MO Health Net program. Harris says the discussion should have started with talk about the cuts, pushed through by Republicans during difficult times for the state budget.
Harris claims no health care will be restored under MO Health Net, a charge Republicans flatly deny. Harris says he understands his place in the process, but wishes Republicans would understand the value of dissenting voices. Harris says he understand the majority party will exercise his strength, but he says it probably isn’t good for taxpayers when the minority voice is silenced.
The method Republicans used irritates Harris as well. He says waiting for the last day of the session to approve the biggest piece of legislation in years, .after House members had been working until two o’clock in the morning the day before, creates an atmosphere for poor legislation.