Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Monday

June 23, 2013

George Weeks: GOP stiffs Gov. Snyder

Republicans rule the roost in Lansing—but decidedly not in harmony. GOP lawmakers, who run the Legislature, rebuffed GOP Gov. Rick Snyder twice last week.

Snyder abruptly cut short a trade mission to Israel—not even having time to change clothes upon his return—to lobby for a Senate vote to expand insurance under Medicaid to several hundred thousand low-income adults.

“Take a vote, not a vacation,” Snyder wisely urged in one of the more memorable gubernatorial urgings to recalcitrant state lawmakers. The Senate adjourned without voting, opting instead for a vacation.

Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, hailed Snyder’s vote/vacation comment but chided him for “leaving the country as the legislation was struggling to find support in the Senate.”

She said: “I’ve seen a lot of disappointing actions take place in the Legislature over the past couple years, but yesterday I was absolutely disgusted to see my Republican colleagues simply walk away from doing their jobs for the summer without taking action on something as critical to the well-being of our state and our families as Medicaid expansion.”

(There’s debate about whether Snyder can call a special session of the Legislature.)

The Legislature also adjourned without action on Snyder’s $1.2 billion transportation package, or even trying to resolve differing approaches.

While there are Democrats and Republicans alike opposed to Snyder’s original idea of increasing fuel and vehicle fees, the folly of the GOP-led Legislature bolting town without any action was underscored by a report that more than one in 10 Michigan bridges are ranked “structurally deficient” based on a national database of bridge inspections by the Federal Highway Administration.

“It is vital that the Michigan Legislature act this summer to help raise the badly needed revenue to meet this obligations,” Tim Fischer, deputy policy director with the Michigan Environmental Council, said of Snyder’s support of investments in road, bridge and transportation infrastructure.

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