Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Thursday, June 13, 2013

AZ House Passes Budget at 3:39 am

During floor debate on the budget bills on Wednesday evening in the Arizona House of Representatives, Robbie Sherwood tweeted:
The #AZHouse #Medicaid opponents' gift for overstatement, melodrama and hyperbole is UNMATCHED IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.
Besides the fact that Robbie may have a future in comedy writing, that may be the most poignant characterization of the drama.


At the end of a marathon session that went about 18 hours, the Arizona House of Representatives passed ten special session budget bills at 3:39 am on June 13.

Much of the time was spent on floor debate, aka COW, aka Committee of the Whole. The so-called conservative wing of the House Republican caucus bloviated endlessly, at least that's what it felt like.

To listen to most of them, they have been disrespected, they have been insulted, they have been subject to a massive betrayal and the undermining of all that is good and right with America and Arizona.

For instance, Farnsworth pontificated about this being just a massive redistribution of wealth and completely unconstitutional. He's someone who apparently just cannot grasp the irony in what he and all of his ALEC-owned colleagues complained about Wednesday evening. Irony, in this case, in that GOP policies have consistently redistributed the wealth generated by the labor of more than a hundred million American men and women to the 1 percent.

In fact, most of Farnsworth's caucus mates sounded like they could not grasp the irony in their protestations about having their constituents disenfranchised. That is, because they believe they are entitled to all of the political power in Arizona, just because 35 percent of registered voters choose to be affiliated with their party.

And then it came time for the biggest blowhard among the 60 members of the House to have a say during floor debate.

That would be Rep. John Kavanagh, House Appropriations chairman. He went so far as to actually claim that when his caucus was in charge, they NEVER rolled over Democrats like he and his (non-"Brewer") caucus were steamrolled (Wednesday evening/Thursday morning). He can't possibly believe that, can he? Did somebody reformat his hard drive to completely erase all recollection of the GOP supermajority he enjoyed during the 50th Legislature (2011-2012)? Astounding, really.

Rep. Justin Pierce, in explaining his vote (during third read), completely misstated the concept of the federal government that was embraced by the Founders when the Constitution was adopted. He, and so many others, like to describe the concept behind the Articles of Confederation. That document was all about "states' rights." Then the Founders realized THAT WON"T WORK. So, in 1789, the Articles were replaced by the Constitution. States' rights are still a part of the Constitution, but subordinated to the need to maintain a strong federal government.

What a breath of fresh air it was when Democratic Rep. Debbie McCune-Davis became the first member of the majority "Brewer caucus"* to explain her vote, which was AYE on HB 2010, the Medicaid restoration bill.

In explaining her vote, Rep. Victoria Steele (D-LD11/Tucson), thanked her Republican seat mate, Rep. Ethan Orr, for standing strong in the face of a lot of opposition. Steele also made the first mentioned of provision in this budget for mental health first aid. That's something that should have been highlighted earlier, but I'm glad she mentioned it. That was one of the things many people talked about after the January 8, 2011 Tucson shooting.

Rep. Andrew Sherwood (D-LD26/West Mesa) said, when explaining his vote, the coalition that made it happen came about not because of a gang of eight, but a gang of thousands. He put in perspective that all of the GOP protestations made it sound like the majority was taken advantage of by a minority, but in fact those who made it happen in the House tonight actually represent far more Arizonans than the conservatives did.

Rep. Catherine Miranda thanked the 24 and 9* (the "Brewer caucus") for being PRO-LIFE tonight because this bill will save thousands of lives. She said that right after Rep. Steve Smith finished bloviating about the evils of abortion. Smith obviously is clueless about what the concept of being "pro-life" actually means... and how anti-life he and his GOP colleagues usually are.

When the recordings are posted from last night/this morning's House session, I'll post excerpts to allow readers to catch highlights without having to sit through so many hours worth of video.

In the meantime, I'm proud of the Democratic caucus and the rest of the "Brewer caucus." It was tedious for me to stay glued to my computer for so long. I can't imagine how it must have been in their shoes (or chairs). I'm reminded of what Andrew Sherwood posted to facebook on Monday.
Not expecting all the grandstanding from Republicans against Medicaid today. It was disgusting. I felt like those tourists at Sea World who don't realize they're in a splash zone - I just got politician all over me.
He was reminded of Sea World. It made me think of the movie Ghostbusters or Men in Black or a reasonable facsimile.

Because he's Speaker, Andy Tobin got to have the last word explaining his vote on the Medicaid restoration bill. His tone was far less confrontational than many of his colleagues (in the conservative wing of the GOP caucus). His comments boiled down to that he believes they could have done better, with the process and the final bill. I'm confident that more will be written about his perspective in the next day or so.

I understand the Senate is expected to do a third read sometime today. There's a fair chance both the regular and special sessions will then adjourn sine die and we'll be done with the shenanigans until January 2014.


* "Brewer caucus" is an expression coined by the "conservative" House Republicans -- apparently meant in derision -- to characterize the coalition of 24 Democratic Members who welcomed the 9 Republicans to form the majority that enabled the budget bills to bypass Kavanagh's committee and get passed by the entire body.

The Republican members of the "Brewer caucus" included Bob Robson, Jeff Dial, Doug Coleman, Doris Goodale, Ethan Orr, Kate Brophy-McGee, Heather Carter, Frank Pratt and T.J.Shope.

Frank Pratt took the brunt of the abuse from the rest of the GOP members.

1 comment:

  1. Nice to see 9 Republicans more concerned with governing and the welfare of all of their constituents. My hat goes off to them.