House Democrats firmly against budget, for now
House Democrats have agreed to oppose Speaker Will Weatherford's budget because it does not including Medicaid expansion dollars. That could change once the Republican leadership unveils its plan for helping Florida's uninsured.
There are many indicators that it's coming soon: the House committee studying the health care law just scheduled a meeting for Monday, Chairman Richard Corcoran got a last-minute meeting with Gov. Rick Scott today, and details have begun to leak.
Depending on the details of the health care proposal, Democrats may be willing to support the budget, Minority Leader Perry Thurston said today.
"We've got to do something, but to answer your question we're always willing to continue to discuss," Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, said.
As of now, Democrats are saying the House budget needs to include a plan that makes Florida eligible for more than $50 billion over the next decade. The Senate has two proposals on the table, one that includes the federal money and another that does not.
Although the details of the House alternative have not been released, Weatherford has indicated he would not support a plan that draws down all of the federal money.
Absent any details and headed into Friday's scheduled vote on the budget, House Democrats are a "no" Thurston said during today's news conference. He was flanked by 16 colleagues, less than half of the 44-member caucus.
Thurston described Medicaid expansion as both a way to make people healthier and to create jobs. As long as the House does nothing, Democrats will oppose, he said.
"We have decided to take a caucus position against the budget just to emphasize the fact that we think that it's important that we do what's right for Floridians," he said.