Update: The Senate has adjourned without a vote on Medicaid expansion (MLive story)
Governor Snyder is cutting short a trade mission to Israel to try to convince his fellow Republicans in the state Senate to approve an expansion of Medicaid. The Legislature is supposed to go on summer break at the end of the week and the governor hopes to have expansion approved before then. Gongwer News Service Publisher John Lindstrom told WMUK's Gordon Evans that Snyder's return is important. He says trade trips are planned months in advance, and cutting it short shows how important this issue is to the governor. Lindstrom says many people in Lansing thought getting expansion through the House would be the more difficult task. But it was approved last week by a comfortable margin.
Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley also cut short a trip to the Upper Peninsula to come back to Lansing. Lindstrom says that was in part because his vote may be needed if the 38-member Senate is deadlocked on expanding Medicaid.
Tea party groups have been critical of the Medicaid expansion proposal and said last week that they could not support Governor Snyder's re-election next year. Some tea party leaders have also said that Republicans in the Legislature voting for Medicaid expansion could face a primary challenge next year. Lindstrom says the tea party has gone "all in" on this issue. He says that is adding to the complications in the Senate.
Lindstrom says with both sides working furiously and the tension in the Republican party, Medicaid expansion is becoming one of the more significant moments in Governor Snyder's administration.