This year the legislative session never felt right, and the two Republican Houses never liked or respected each other. There has always been finger pointing and name calling, but no one ever thought the Republican House would pack up their bags three days early and leave Tallahassee.
This is unprecedented, and the House left hundreds of bills unfinished and on the table. There is no budget that has been completed and if the two Houses cannot talk to each other, the Florida government can be eventually shut down. This makes no sense, but the Republican led House is firmly against Medicaid expansion, and the Senate supports it.
Senate President, Andy Gardiner says he’s disappointed with the Houses’ decision: “The House didn’t win. The Senate didn’t win, and the taxpayers lost. There are a lot of issues that aren’t going to make it, and it’s unfortunate.” The two Houses are apart $3 to $5 million and neither House is willing to budge. Some say this is ego, but our governor is showing no leadership skills, and the problems are exacerbated.
‘Right thing to do’
Speaker of the House, Steve Crisafulli says it was the right thing to do. “We’ve made every effort we can to negotiate with the Senate on a budget, and at this time, they’re standing strong on Medicaid expansion.” There is an impasse and this immature behavior started at the beginning of the session when both Houses refused to talk to each other.
As the Florida Legislature reveals a dysfunctional government, the residents never expected this behavior from their representatives that they voted into office. This is an assault on sanity, and every representative should explain to their constituency, why they are not able to do the job they were put in Tallahassee to do.
Everyone expected the session to be expanded, but very few expected the House to leave early and not finish the session. At this point, no one knows what the next step is in this legislative saga.
Governor Scott has said he will call the legislature back for a special session to complete the budget even though they are miles apart. It is very easy for our governor to say he can work things out, but for the past sixty days, the two Houses were barely talking to each other.
‘We’re not dancing’
House Appropriations Chief, Richard Corcoran recently said “Here’s my message to the Senate: They want us to dance? We’re not dancing. We’re not dancing this session, we’re not dancing next session, we’re not dancing next summer. We’re not dancing. And if you want to blow up the process because you think you have some right that doesn’t exist? Have at it.”
Floridians should be very upset with our legislature because they are not doing their job in 2015. The one task the Legislature is mandated to do is to pass a budget. We need our representatives to do their job.
Roger Caldwell is the CEO of On Point Media Group.