In the wake of the GOP-led Michigan Senate thumbing their nose at Medicaid expansion and going on a two-month summer break, there have been rumblings for Gov. Snyder to call an emergency legislative session to force them to address the issue. Lawmakers would not normally reconvene until August 27th, but they do have a one-day session scheduled for July 3rd, which will likely not produce any business. Mark Schauer, a 2014 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, insists Snyder should exercise his constitutional power to command lawmakers back to Lansing, but it appears the governor has little interest in that option.
Another alternative would be for Snyder to simply refuse to sign any other legislation into law until the Senate acts on Medicare.
There is little doubt that the governor is stomping mad about the Senate’s failure to act. His remarks leave little room for doubt on where he stands:
“A lack of action or a no vote on this leaves us with nothing. We’re basically subsidizing the rest of the United States. Isn’t it better to say we’re going to try a solution instead of simply saying no? … Isn’t it better to try a solution knowing it may have risks, that it’s not perfect, that it has challenges, that we’re going to be held accountable for delivering measurable, tangible results? I accept that challenge. I believe the Michigan of the future requires us to accept that challenge and get this job done.”
Senate Republicans claim they are standing on principle in their carte blanche rejection of all aspects of The Affordable Care Act, even though their inaction will cost the state $1.5 billion in taxes with no return. The only principle these lawmakers really stand on is their collective desire to obstruct anything with the President’s name on it.
The salient political question right now is, not whether Obamacare is good or bad, but instead we should ask: Will Gov. Snyder stand-up to Senate leadership?
If his handling of the Right-to-Work controversy is any indication of his political spine, then Michigan can expect to subsidize the rest of the nation for Medicaid and see nothing in return.
In an April 27th interview with the Traverse City Record-Eagle the governor was asked why he signed the Right-to-Work law, given that he had stated repeatedly that it was not on his agenda. Here’s what they reported as his response:
“It does make life more difficult when you have more controversy versus less controversy,” he said. “It makes life more complicated, and would I rather have less complications? Yeah, but as a fact of the matter, that’s part of the job.”
Snyder said organized labor officials deserve blame for prompting legislators to embrace and enact the right to work law during last year’s lame duck session. Labor pushing last year’s Proposal 2, which sought to guarantee public and private-sector employees the right to organize and collectively bargain. Voters soundly defeated the measure in November.
“I wasn’t looking for it,” Snyder said of right to work legislation. “I didn’t propose it as a topic. It became a consequence of Proposal 2. That was a counter-reaction to Proposal 2 when Proposal 2 failed. I’m sincere in my decision … I made the decision. I live with that and I think it was the appropriate one because it will bring jobs to our state.”
After four months to think about it, that’s a fairly lame excuse — basically, claiming the unions “were asking for it” by exercising their constitutional right to a ballot initiative. Snyder did grave damage to his ratings and his chance for re-election by signing Right-to-Work, and his above response sounds more like a “they made me do it”, over any solid rationale.
Snyder has a golden opportunity right now to lead from the middle by pushing back on Senate leadership, but will he take it? Gov. Chris Christie wouldn’t hesitate.
Amy Kerr Hardin