The state very narrowly passed the expansion last year, but because it is a budget bill, it has to reach a 75 percent threshold. For the second day in a row, it failed and it seems like the minority is picking up steam.
The House voted 68-27 Wednesday to reauthorize funding for the "private option," falling seven votes shy of the 75 needed to continue the program. It's the second time the legislation has failed in the House, where the measure fell five votes shy on Tuesday with the same number of members voting against it.There's significant pressure from both social welfare groups and from business to keep the expansion.
“This additional expense will have a chilling effect on the growth plans of Arkansas businesses,” said Randy Zook, president and CEO of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Arkansas. “With nearly 100,000 Arkansans still unemployed, those companies do not need to deal with added costs.”Republican House Speaker Davy Carter says he will keep putting the reauthorization up until it reaches the 75 percent threshold it needs to pass the House and move on to the Senate, which appears to be ready to pass it. "I would ask what the plan is for these small minority of members who want to hold everything up," said Carter.