PHOENIX — The Arizona House passed an $8.8 billion state budget that includes Medicaid expansion early Thursday and puts Gov. Jan Brewer one Senate vote away from a huge political victory as she embraces a signature part of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law.
A newly formed coalition of Democrats and GOP moderates forced the budget and Medicaid expansion proposal to move in the Arizona Senate and House during a day filled with debate. The Senate took a break after giving its initial approval Wednesday afternoon, while the House toiled into the night as conservative Republicans railed against the Medicaid proposal and accused members of their party who supported Brewer of being turncoats before taking a final vote that ended after 1:30 a.m. PDT.
The Senate is set to take up the budget and Brewer's contentious Medicaid proposal for its final vote sometime after 9 a.m. Thursday. Votes last month and Wednesday show it has more than enough votes to pass and a budget could be on Brewer's desk by the afternoon.