The Florida House irresponsibly cut its session short on Tuesday afternoon at 1:15. Or did it?
First off let me state that the House position on Medicaid expansion is irreconcilable with the responsibilities of a western industrialized nation. Were Florida to continue down this current path, our state’s health care system will more closely resemble that of India, Ecuador or Myanmar than that of the advanced industrial nations that are the leading countries on this planet. Currently, access to Health Care in Florida for those who make less than $100,000/year resembles that of a third world country more than it does a place that aspires to greatness like our state.
Westernized democracies are more successful than developing/third world nations not simply because of the policies of colonialism that many liberals like to blame for the backwardness of many nations outside the west, but because of the compassion and shared responsibility that comes with a successful society. In places like India, many of the wealthiest in society see those who have been less fortunate as lesser people – in the United States and in other western democracies we try to reject this notion though Republican policies in this state over the past 17 years have made Florida resemble the third world in multiple ways.
Today’s move to end session by the Florida House was not irresponsible, the majority caucus’s troubling position on Medicaid notwithstanding. The fact is the Florida House has finished its other business in a timely fashion and as is has typically been the case since I began watching sessions closely in 1995, the Florida Senate piles up its responsibilities to the final ten days of session. Reality is that the House spent more time in committees in January and February and more time on the floor March and early April than the Senate.
Through today, the House had spent 21 days on the floor as compared to 12 for the Senate, and more than 20 hours overall more on the floor than the Senate. Perhaps the Senate is the more deliberative body, but the House has met its responsibilities, and considering the amount of taxpayer money that goes into every single day legislators stay in Tallahassee, the House is actually doing the citizens of the state a favor by ending session early and punting the budget to a formal Special Session which will have to be called.
The House leadership is wrong on the issue of Medicaid expansion but is not wrong on the procedure and process – it is the Senate, whose slow pace and willingness to save a trainload of issues for deliberation on the final days of session has often frustrated observers like myself. This year, the House majority which of course won a smashing electoral victory this past November met the responsibilities they felt needed to be addressed and then called it a day.
We might not like the outcome, but elections do have consequences and the Democrats clocks were cleaned last November in Florida House elections. So the Republican leadership in the Florida House was well within their rights to finish business and end proceedings while in the process saving taxpayers some money.