Traverse City Record-Eagle

Michigan

July 8, 2013

Mich. Senate Majority Leader defends Medicaid

Eds: Updates with background and comments. This week's Capital Focus and a Michigan AP Centerpiece. With AP Photos.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The leader of the Michigan Senate may press ahead in search of a Medicaid expansion plan to pass muster with fellow Republicans, but it's clear he doesn't appreciate how the governor called the Senate out for refusing to vote.

If anything, Majority Leader Randy Richardville said, he saved Gov. Rick Snyder from a big defeat more than two weeks ago by not calling a vote on House legislation to expand eligibility for government-provided health insurance to 320,000 low-income adults in 2014. The Republican governor had cut short a trade trip in Israel to return home and lobby the GOP-dominated Senate.

"I think he was convinced that the votes were there. I'm in the room where those votes get counted," Richardville, of Monroe, told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday, the day he outlined his expectations for a Senate workgroup that will study Medicaid expansion this summer.

"This debate, this issue, is alive because I provided leadership on this issue based on the feedback from the Senate Republican caucus. This thing was dead if we had taken a vote when it was being demanded that we take a vote. It wasn't a gentle request. There was a demand and then after the demand there was a — they called it a press conference. I've got other words to describe it, but I'm not going to use them."

In a June 20 news conference, an uncharacteristically angry Snyder blasted the Senate for not voting on a bill that had passed the GOP-led House with bipartisan support a week before. He urged them to "take a vote, not a vacation" — a line he has since dropped following a private conversation with Richardville, who's in his 13th year in the Legislature.

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