The Louisiana State Senate passed a disjointed, badly compromised budget bill today, using the amendment process to strike down potential Medicaid expansion and twice refusing to strip the “SAVE” shell game from the legislation. Even after 11 Republican legislators penned a letter directly to GOP power-broker Grover Norquist to work around Gov. Bobby Jindal’s obstinance, Rep. Jack Donahue continued his efforts to contort state law in a convoluted money-laundering scheme designed to appease our governor-in-absentia.
While Donahue scrambled to ram through a budget bill that would accommodate Jindal’s vanity at the expense of Louisiana taxpayers, Sen. Karen Carter Peterson successfully led the effort to deny him taxpayer funding for his campaign travel. The back-and-forth of a tangled amendments process saw Donahue and his GOP allies seize the opportunity to strike even the possibility of Medicaid expansion, fight to protect Jindal’s campaign travel expenses, and ultimately pass a $24.5 billion budget by a 36-3 vote.
“We should all be disappointed in today’s budget vote,” said Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “In contrast to the courage shown by the House last week, the Senate continued to cower and let their fear of Grover Norquist and Bobby Jindal dictate their vote. The people of Louisiana deserve better, they deserve a governor who serves the interests of taxpayers, not a legislature that serves at the whim of the governor.”
Second press statement:
Late today in the Louisiana Legislature, the House of Representatives took its boldest stand yet against the stubborn, selfish demands of Gov. Bobby Jindal and the out-of-state special interests he serves. House leadership showed dogged determination to push back against the “zombie bill” being pushed by Sen. Jack Donahue and Jindal’s other minions in the legislature. On the House floor, Rep. Alan Seabaugh was forced to withdraw his amendment attempting to bolt the SAVE scam onto capital outlay legislation when abruptly informed he didn’t have the votes to pass it.
In contrast to the abject compliance offered up by their colleagues in the Senate, who today twice refused to kill the phantom “SAVE” legislation, legislators from both sides of the aisle in the House came together to deny Jindal the ability to hold our state’s economy hostage to further his own doomed, national political ambitions. In doing so, they rose to the dignity of the office they hold and did the will of the people of Louisiana, not the bidding of Grover Norquist.
Thanks to the leadership of Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. John Bel Edwards, Vice Chair Rep. Ted James and Legislative Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Katrina Jackson, the House took a stand against the kind of financial mismanagement and accounting tricks that have plagued the statehouse under Jindal’s administration.
“The fight is not over, and we know Jindal’s cronies are going to keep dredging up this zombie legislation again and again,” said Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “But we should be encouraged by the strength and the good sense that prevailed in the House today. ‘SAVE’ only serves Bobby Jindal, but for the legislature of Louisiana and the people they are sworn to represent, it only serves to waste time.”
In fairness, The Republican Party, however, has not posted any content on its Facebook page, its twitter feed or website related to the legislative session. When it does post in the future, we will be pleased to republish. One obvious reason for their lack of press statements could be the discontent of House Republicans towards the policies of Governor Bobby Jindal. While the Democrats ae more united, the republicans are clearly leading the charge in the house in opposition to the governor's budgetary policies.
Here is the aforementioned-letter to Grover Norquist, signed by eleven republicans.