Nearly 80 members of the House Republican caucus are scheduled to hold a private meeting Tuesday without public or press access.
The caucus meeting was announced Friday in an email to GOP members. This is the caucus’ first meeting this legislative session.
The issue of health care funding is almost certainly the issue being considered, as it accounts for a $5 billion gap between the House and Senate budget proposals. The Senate’s budget funds the Low Income Pool and Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, money that’s not in the House’s budget. (Background)
Michael Williams, a spokesman for House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, said the meeting will “not include agreement on formal legislative action.”
“Partisan offices and other caucuses regularly hold closed meetings to discuss procedural and other issues,” Williams continued. “Such meetings are not problematic so long as participants do not agree upon formal legislative action regarding pending legislation or amendments.”
House rules dictate that meetings between more than two members of the Legislature must be open to the public if they are “agreeing to take formal legislative action on pending legislation or amendments at such meeting or a subsequent time.”
That Senate has filed legislation that would draw down nearly $50 billion over eight years to expand coverage to 800,000 residents. The bill has passed both its committee stops and is waiting a full Senate vote.
The House says it will not consider the plan, and no similar legislation is being considered in that chamber.
The GOP caucus meeting was announced via email to members the the same day Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, announced the Senate Appropriations Committee will get an update on where the chamber stands on health care funding. Both meetings are set to begin at 10 a.m.
The issue is grinding the budget process to a halt, and will likely lead to a special session to hammer out the budget.
Gov. Rick Scott’s administration Monday also formally submitted to the feds its proposal for expanding the Low Income Pool, which is a pot of federal and local money used by hospitals to provide charity care.
LIP has been a part of intense negotiations between Scott’s administration and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which must approve the funding.
Last week, CMS formally tied funding for the state’s more than $2 billion LIP program to its willingness to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. Like the House, Scott opposes that plan.
Original article here.