After years of fighting against TEA Party obstructionism, a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans in the legislature, backed by Governor Bullock, have finally passed a plan to expand Medicaid in Montana. Although the measure was not the original Democratic proposal brought forward this session, the working majority was able to settle on a compromise bill, bucking the Republicans’ extreme party leadership and providing healthcare to tens of thousands of struggling Montanans.
Sen. Ed Buttrey’s bill finally passed the House after a lengthy and dramatic period of parliamentary tricks and rules battles brought on by a minority of TEA Party legislators. This attempt to derail Medicaid expansion was led by none other than Rep. Art Wittich, who attempted to do away with majority rule and the principles of Democracy to enforce his own will over the legislative process. Luckily though, by working together, Democrats and a large portion of the Republican caucus were able overcome this to do the right thing.
We join thousands of Montanans all across the state in thanking the Democratic legislators and Governor Bullock, who have worked tirelessly to see Medicaid expansion pass, as well as the moderate Republicans who had the courage to speak out against their party’s extremist leaders, and stand up for what they know is right.
It’s a good day for Montana when our elected officials can reach across the aisle, come together, and do what needs to be done for our state. Let’s hope that this cooperation and standing up to extremism can continue during the final days of the legislative session, and serve as an example for legislators in years to come.