Ending $4 Billion Missouri Medicaid Bill Filibuster

A dayslong filibuster in the Missouri Senate ended after a Republican faction allowed a vote on a more than $4 billion Medicaid program. Senators initially gave their approval to a bill that renews a tax on hospitals and medical providers to include $2.9 billion in federal funding for low-income residents on Medicaid. The Freedom Caucus, a Republican faction, had blocked work in the Senate until their demands were met. They used the hospital tax to pressure Senate leaders to pass a bill that would remove Planned Parenthood from the state’s Medicaid program.

The House of Representatives sent the measure to Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who is expected to sign it. The Freedom Caucus also demanded that Parson sign the Planned Parenthood defunding bill and that the Legislature raise the bar for passing future constitutional amendments. Senate Republicans were able to approve the proposal after negotiations with Senate Democrats and remove other election-related language that House Republicans wanted. Senate Majority Leader Cindy O’Laughlin plans to bring the constitutional amendment measure up for discussion on May 6.

Both the Freedom Caucus and Republican Senate leaders are claiming victory in the long standoff. The Freedom Caucus formed a coalition with 18 senators, enough to force a vote in support of the constitutional amendment without support from Democrats. Other Senate Republicans saw the hospital tax increase as a defeat for the Freedom Caucus. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lincoln Hough emphasized the importance of governing the state and staying together to fulfill their duty despite internal conflict.

This filibuster ended after negotiations and compromises were made between various factions within the Senate. The controversy surrounding the Medicaid program, Planned Parenthood funding, and constitutional amendments sparked debates and lengthy discussions. Republicans hope to make it more difficult for voters to pass certain amendments in the future by raising the threshold for amending the Constitution. The filibuster was reminiscent of previous instances in 2016 and showed that contentious issues can lead to extended debates on the Senate floor.

The tension between different Republican factions in the Missouri Senate highlights the challenges of governing and passing legislation. The Freedom Caucus used the filibuster to achieve their goals, but ultimately had to make compromises to move forward on vital legislation. The negotiation process included discussions with Senate Democrats and compromises on certain provisions. The episode is a reminder of the complex dynamics within a legislative body and the need to work together to fulfill their duties and responsibilities.