The House Appropriations Committee has passed a proposed $24.7 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, and it does not include Medicaid eligibility expansion.
The Committee rejected two amendments that would have reinserted federal dollars and projected revenue and savings tied to Medicaid expansion in the House budget proposal.
Representative Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) says the state won’t be able to sustain an expanded Medicaid program without cutting into other areas.
“We get out to 2020 when we become on the hook for some of this stuff, it is still my opinion that we’re going to have to pillage education funding to get to the point where we can make this work. For that reason and that reason alone I would be inclined to not support the amendment.”
Representative Jill Schupp (D-Creve Coeur) urged the Committee to let the full House chamber weigh in.
“We have an opportunity here to not only expand service but to provide an opportunity for more than 24,000 jobs to be created in the first year alone, to bring money into Missouri that would not otherwise be here and to help develop and build our economy.”
The amendments would have plugged in $46 million in projected savings and revenue and more than $800 million to pay for eligibility expansion. Both were defeated along party lines.
The Committee has put money in place to temporarily fill a gap left by the federal sequester cuts, to fund scholarships for National Guard members. Money pulled from several other places will fund the $2.5 million Show-Me Heroes fund.
Representative Jeff Grisamore (R-Lee’s Summit) says it was important not to leave National Guard soldiers behind.
“We will know possibly by the end of the month if there will be a continuing resolution in Congress that would possibly restore this federal side of tuition assistance for National Guard, but if the cuts of the sequester stick, we want to step up and assist and offset that loss so we can ensure that our student soldiers continue to have the funding they need to further their higher education.”
The Committee also voted to pull $85,000 from the administration of the Department of Revenue. That amendment was sponsored by Representative Robert Ross (R-Yukon), who says he is not satisfied with the Department’s response to questions about its scanning and retention of personal information from Missouri driver’s license and concealed carry permit applicants.
Ross withdrew another amendment that would have taken $3-million from the Department.
The budget proposal will go to the full House for debate when lawmakers return from Spring Break.