Well, it is official.  House DFL leadership announced today that the Health and Human Services budget bill is on hold until more is understood about the interaction of the federal health care reform bill and the state budget.

Not surprisingly, GOP leaders responded with disappointment over a “do-nothing” week, particularly regarding a lack of HHS and K-12 education budget bills.

Also at play, although not mentioned, is the fate of $400 million in enhanced Medicaid match funding (FMAP), which both the House and Governor are counting on to help balance the state’s budget.  However, the money has not yet passed Congress and may not until late April or early May.

So far, the legislature has passed and the governor has signed a bonding bill, a GAMC bill, a budget bill that cuts one-third of the deficit, and a number of other bills.  However, there isn’t much else for the legislators to work on until the HHS and K-12 budget bills are released.  Even the House and Senate tax committees have been relatively quiet — with the exception of Senate Tax Chair Bakk’s Vikings proposal (which is not getting a warm reception).

So it continues to be an interesting time at the Capitol!  Stayed tuned.  Things could happen at any time!

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