What did House Speaker Steve Crisafulli say last week during his closed door meeting with his Republican colleagues?
Who knows. But below is the script that he used.
Ostensibly meeting to discuss history, Crisafulli’s comments are rich with strategy and quite a few laments.
At the top of his nits was his concern that the issue of Medicaid expansion was never supposed to be the dominant issue of the 2015 session.
“I worked with President Gardiner all summer to develop a work plan and talk about how we would handle session issues,” Crisafulli says in the script. “Expanding Medicaid was never part of the agenda. In fact, he stated that he knew where the House was, and did not plan the issue in the Senate. Obviously, things have changed and rather than getting caught up in the why or the how, we are where we are today.”
According to the script, Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, then gave a presentation on the Low Income Pool money at the heart of this year’s Medicaid expansion. Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Stanford, then handed out an informational packet containing talking points, op-eds and an article he wrote with Rep. Matt Caldwell, R-Lehigh Acres.
The script then contains the text of Crisafulli’s closing remarks.
“We did not create this problem — the Federal Government did,” Crisafulli states.
He said that former Gov. Jeb Bush “reached out through staff to let us know that he did not support the Senate or their Medicaid expansion. He let the Senate know that they misinterpreted his words. It’s about finding a solution on LIP, not digging us deeper in the Medicaid ditch.”
Crisafulli says if the House holds strong and rejects Medicaid expansion, the state will still get some form of the LIP money.
“We believe we will receive LIP funding — it is simply a matter of time,” Crisafulli said. “It’s possible, though unlikely, that we will hear from CMS in time to craft a budget in overtime. It’s more likely that we will hear from CMS after May. That would mean coming back for a Special Session.”
Then offers three bits of advice:
1) “Be calm and optimisic. We will have a solution.”
2) don’t get “married to any of your bills or appropriation items — we are in the strongest negotiating position when we have no fear.”
3) “Trust your team. I made a commitment to you that I would never ask you to vote on something that I would not support myself. ….Thomas Jefferson said, in matters of style, swim with the current, in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
“Thank you for standing firm.”
Original article and documents here.