Arizona Governor, Lawmakers Battle Over Medicaid Expansion

Gov. Brewer wants to suck at the federal teat


Gov. Jan Brewer sent five bills to the scrap heap Thursday in a pointed gesture intended to prod lawmakers into a deal on the budget and her plan to expand Medicaid.

The five vetoes, follow-through on Brewer's promise to block legislation until her top priorities move forward, capped a tense day that saw some lawmakers receive threats over their support for the plan to provide health care for more of the state's poor.

In letters explaining her actions, Brewer revealed a growing impatience with the Legislature, which she noted has been in session for 130days and has only five weeks until the constitutional deadline for a fiscal 2014 budget.

"I warned that I would not sign additional measures into law until we see resolution of the two most pressing issues facing us: adoption of a fiscal 2014 state budget and plan for Medicaid," Brewer wrote. "It is disappointing I must demonstrate the moratorium was not an idle threat."

If signed into law, the bills would allow people to sue over potential violations of religious freedoms, and require the Department of Education to outline for failing schools how to comply with the school-improvement process, among other things.

Earlier Thursday, House Republicans who support the governor's plan to expand Medicaid forwarded to the state Department of Public Safety for investigation e-mails and phone calls threatening them with various forms of retribution.