Two major priorities in the Missouri Senate are in the batting lineup for consideration – the budget and a bill that would help to cover the state’s Medicaid costs, otherwise known as the Federal Reimbursement Allowance (FRA). Members of the far-right-leaning Freedom Caucus have drawn a line in the sand, however.

Sen. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, said a bill that would stop state funding from going to Planned Parenthood or other abortion providers and changing the initiative petition process need to be signed into law by Gov. Mike Parson first.

“We had the governor in this chamber working hard against the defund Planned Parenthood provision,” Brattin said. “So, we want to make sure that we’re not going to go through all this song and dance of getting it Truly Agreed, go to the Governor and he vetoes it. That’s going to be a huge concern.”

Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, downplayed the seriousness of the Freedom Caucus’ threats, while Senate Appropriations Chair Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield, said that he will not put up with “ultimatums.”

“I deal with the constitutional necessity of passing a budget in this state, not trying to leverage someone to get something else done, right? I think everyone knows we need to fund the state,” Hough said. “We’re not going to act like Washington, D.C. We’re not going to come back here in a special session because we can’t do our job during the regular session.”

Brattin accused Republican leadership of creating this “narrative” of urgency.

“(The FRA) does not even have to be renewed till the end of September, if I’m not mistaken. So, to say that this sense of urgency is just beyond the pale is just not true. So, we can get a lot of things done and I think that’s what we have to leverage to ensure we’re able to protect the constitution, make sure that abortion isn’t in our constitution and to fight against that.”

The deadline for lawmakers to get the budget passed is May 10.

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