The budget passes the Legislature and, within hours, the negotiations over health care reform goes public in a big way.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger tells the Sacramento Bee editorial board he’ll veto the Legislative Leadership’s bill, Assembly Bill 8 (view post), if it places the entire burden of funding reform on business and lacks a requirement that all Californians obtain health care coverage (sometimes called an “individual mandate.”). He later indicates a willingness to bring Legislators back from their Fall recess in special session to assure health care reform plan is passed this year (view post).
The Democratic Leadership complains that Governor Schwarzenegger’s individual mandate would require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, meaning it would need Republican votes. They point out that such a dynamic blocked passage of the state’s budget well pass the Constitutional deadline and question the Governor’s ability to deliver any Republican votes. Now Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez is planning to drive this point home. In a clip of a press conference posted by the California Majority Report today, he committed to introducing the Governor’s health care reform plan as legislation and bring it to a vote on the Assembly floor as early as next Friday, August 31st. His challenge to Governor Schwarzenegger: deliver Republican votes.
I’m sure there’s lots of negotiations going on behind the scenes, but public activities is a lot more fun to watch. It also demonstrates how serious leading lawmakers are to actually get something done. And quickly.