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Mo. House Rejects Senate Version Of State Budget, Defeats Another Medicaid Expansion Attempt

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

The Missouri Househas formally rejected theSenateversion of the state budget, setting the stage for final negotiations over the state’s spending plan for next year.

Among the bones of contention is the rejection by the Senate of $20 million in federal funding from the Department of Homeland Security, which happened as part of the backlash over the document scanning controversy.  House Speaker Tim Jones(R, Eureka) says, though, that’s no reason to reject money that’s meant to help keep Missouri safe.

"I think we have to be very concerned in our zeal for the truth to not get to a point where we start to look shrill about things, or obsessed, to the point where we end up cutting off our arm to spite our face," Jones said.

Both chambers will appoint negotiators to hammer out a final version of the state’s roughly $25 billion spending plan for Fiscal Year 2014, which begins July 1st.  The so-called budget conferees could be appointed as early as today.

As the House went through each bill Monday, another attempt was made by Democrats to expand Medicaid.  State Representative Jeff Roorda(D, Barnhart) sponsored the motion.

"If you cobbled together every jobs bill, every economic development bill, that has been filed, not passed, but filed in the seven years that I’ve served up here, they don’t even come close to creating the number of jobs that we (would) create through Medicaid expansion," Roorda said.

State Representative Jay Barnes (R, Jefferson City) argued that Medicaid should not be expanded without first reforming the system.  Last week he withdrewan alternate proposalthat would have expanded Medicaid to an additional 180,000 Missourians while allowing private insurers to compete to provide coverage for Medicaid recipients.  The attempt to add nearly $900 million for Medicaid expansion to House Bill 11failed on a party-line vote.

The House and Senate have until May 10th to send the state budget to Governor Jay Nixon (D).

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.