Monday, May 27, 2013

Arizona Legislature: The coming week

A week to "stay tuned" because if anything breaks at the Capitol, it will happen on short notice -

We've reached the point where almost nothing is on the schedule at the legislature as all the activity is taking place in the background - they're (meaning the Governor's office and the House Republican leadership) still wrangling over Medicaid restoration in the House and the Governor is still refusing to sign any bills into law until Medicaid restoration and the budget is passed.

On KPNX's (Phoenix Channel 12) Sunday Square Off this week, Rep. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, stated that the Medicaid restoration language that passed the Senate as part of their budget package will be stripped out by his committee, possibly as soon as this week.

That would leave supporters of Medicaid restoration with the task of restoring Medicaid restoration via floor action.  Not actually a problem, because if there is enough support to pass the Medicaid package, there is enough support to add the language (again!) via a floor amendment.

In other words, if Kavanagh has the Medicaid language removed from the bill, it will be less about policy and more about posturing for the extremist part of the base.

Speaking of posturing, a press conference has been scheduled for Tuesday.  On the lege's events calendar, it is named "Republican Party Campaign Response".

Regardless of the rhetoric surrounding it, and the path it takes, the extreme wing of the Arizona Republican Party already believes that Medicaid restoration will happen.  From the Twitter entries of former legislator Ron "the South Will Rise Again" Gould -

Things look like they ?may? break open this week.  In the House last week, one of the common themes in the floor speeches given by members was an expression of frustration with the lack of progress at the lege.  Members are becoming irritated of showing up to work only to have nothing to work on (vote on).  Pressure is mounting on the leadership, from both within and without the House, to "get it done".  Pretty near everybody wants to "get the hell out of Dodge".

Which points out one of the major downsides of the sort of "top-down" mindset that defines the operation of the Arizona legislature -

When there is a failure, all fingers are pointed in one direction, and that direction is *not* away from the leadership.


John said...

In other words, if Kavanagh has the Medicaid language removed from the bill, it will be less about policy and more about posturing for the extremist part of the base.

That is not true. If you vote against a bill that you oppose in committee, how is that posturing? We are supposed to do that. Are Dems posturing when they vote against conservative bills?

Maybe I misunderstood what you meant. Could you clarify?

cpmaz said...

Let me stipulate two things - 1

1. I expect that the Medicaid language will be removed from the bill in committee.

2. I expect that the language will be restored on the floor.

I could be wrong (not exactly a legislative insider here), but that's what I see right now.

It doesn't do a skilled political operator any good to do something like that (taking the Medicaid language out in committee), and racking up an apparent loss (when the language is restored).

However, it makes sense if the actual goal is to take advantage of the (apparently) inevitable to gain an advantage elsewhere (in this case, appealing to the anti-healthcare sensibilities of the extreme wing of the AZGOP).

An appeal that could be useful in many ways; for example, like helping to fend off any primary challengers for a Senate seat in a safe R district.

In other words, I do think it will be posturing, just it will be posturing with a purpose.

Not exactly a new concept there.