Top Republican leaders in the Missouri Legislature have announced a cooperative effort to try to preserve in-home and nursing care for more than 8,000 disabled Missourians.
Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, and House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, want the two chambers to develop a funding solution to preserve the care.
House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, also wants to see a solution.
“Listen, I feel optimistic that members of the House and Senate can come to an agreement,” Fitzpatrick tells Missourinet.
Pro Tem Richard and Speaker Richardson want to see a plan developed in the next three weeks.
Fitzpatrick addressed the issue on the House floor, during Wednesday’s veto session.
“There’s 197 of us (Missouri lawmakers) on both sides of this building and no one of us can do this by ourselves,” Fitzpatrick says. “So, we’re going to work on it. We’re going to work on a solution.”
Richard and Richardson also want lawmakers to consider restoring provider rate cuts, including cuts to private duty nurses who administer in-home neonatal care.
The Pro Tem says it’s the job of lawmakers, even in tough budget years, to protect “our most vulnerable citizens.”
“I’m hopeful that over the next three weeks as outlined by the Speaker and the Pro Tem that we can work out a compromise that both chambers and both parties can agree that is workable and moving forward,” says Fitzpatrick.
Missouri House Democrats unsuccessfully tried to override Governor Eric Greitens’ (R) veto of the fund sweep bill this week.
State Rep. Deb Lavender, D-Kirkwood, says lawmakers have provided corporate tax breaks, while cutting services for the elderly and disabled.
State Rep. Clem Smith, D-Velda Village Hills, says the cuts will be devastating, adding he thinks the 8,000 figure is low.
“So something is going to devastate this 8,000 which I think is a low number,” Smith says. “It’s going to devastate other people. There’s going to be a multiplier effect and I would like to say it’s going to be multiplied by four at least.”
Greitens and Fitzpatrick called the fund sweep proposed by Lavender and other Democrats a “one-time fix.”
The House override vote failed on Wednesday 49-106.
Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick, which was recorded on September 13, 2017 at the Statehouse in Jefferson City: