As expected, Governor Pawlenty has vetoed the health and human services omnibus budget bill passed last night by the House and Senate.  The veto was met with a sharp response from House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, who is also the DFL-endorsed candidate for governor.

As a reminder, this bill included the housing with services regulations and 5% cut to EW that Aging Services has been opposed to.

According to reports and his veto message, Pawlenty’s main objection to the bill is the inclusion of allowing adults without children to enroll in Medical Assistance (also called “early expansion” because under the recently enacted federal health care reform, states already providing state-funded health care coverage to low-income adults are given the opportunity to enroll this population in Medicaid and receive the federal matching funds before 2014, which is when all Americans must have health insurance.)  The governor has stated he is open to the idea but dislikes how the provision is paid for over the next three years — but has no alternatives for how to do so.

The chairs of the HHS finance committees, Rep. Tom Huntley and Sen. Linda Berglin, were reportedly meeting with the governor earlier this afternoon in an effort to negotiate an HHS budget deal. No word on how those negotiations went.  Aging Services anticipates negotiations for HHS, along with the broader budget discussions, will continue for the next few days.

The legislature must adjourn on Monday, May 17th and cannot act on any legislation after 11:59 PM on Sunday, May 16th.