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Halftime in the special session
The rout is on

by Frank Corder
It’s halftime for the special session and there’s a lot of stuff happening that seems to be getting no press coverage or just flat inaccurate press coverage that’s worth mentioning.

The vote tally yesterday on HB1 was 93-23 as announced from the chair. All 23 voting against reauthorizing Medicaid were Democrats. However, when the official vote tally was made last night, the numbers changed. Representatives Barnes, Blackwell and Clark actually changed their nay votes to aye, making the total 96-20. That makes them having voted against Medicaid, before voting against Medicaid before voting for Medicaid (kind of).

They shouldn’t feel so bad. The Jackson Free Press reporter who spent all day in the House chamber mangled his report. He reported that HB1 “passed on a party-line vote”.

What is amazing is that 22 House Democrats could continue to hang themselves out to dry on a straight up or down vote on Medicaid. Medicaid! Think about that for a moment. Those 23 Democrats including David Baria, Chuck Espy, and Percy Watson actually voted not to reauthorize Medicaid for 600,000 working class Mississippians. And there’s not even a hint of press coverage about that, which is astounding. No one has asked them, “What do you think your constituents will think about you voting against Medicaid?” I think we will be hearing about the vote that happened yesterday throughout the 2015 cycle and I think there will be some new faces in the House chamber on the Democratic side because of it.

Speaking of press coverage, from the real newspapers, it’s been pretty uninspiring. Most of these folks are in the chamber and I’m 200 miles away getting this stuff right. They have been generally lauding fiery speeches from Adrienne Wooten and Bo Eaton and Steve “Bless his heart” Holland. What they don’t point out is that all three of those folks (joined by most of their party members voted against Medicaid reauthorization on January 31, February 15 and against appropriation on March 31 and April 1.

And yet, they are totally getting a pass for “speaking to the common man”. That microphone costs $43,000 a day in a special session. If all those that are making impassioned speeches and whispering to their fawning groupies in the press, this special session would be wholly unnecessary.

The last talking point that I will debunk is that “Democrats finally got a chance to vote on expansion”. I guess they can say that, but there were a few speeches lasting less than an hour. They would have been better off putting their missives on YouTube instead of taking everyone's time. Democrats are definitely trying to salvage something out of this special session, but you are hearing it here and nowhere else . . . this has been a disaster for House Democrats. And privately, the sane ones are admitting it. If it were a horse, they'd shoot it. If it were a fight, they'd end it.

When Bryant expands the call, he will put Democrats in another impossible position. Now that most of them have now switched their vote to reauthorize Medicaid, Bryant will put them on a decision to actually fund the tools to get the match. If they vote against, not only will they flip-flop (again), but they’ll look obstructionist. However, after yesterday, my sense is that they’ll rollover again on the vote after moaning and wailing in the well and that the vote won’t be close.




Posted June 28, 2013 - 10:59 am

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