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Arkansas Week February 14, 2014

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(Option) That's it, says the Speader. Next week, the vote. (Outlook) Will the Senate go along? …and if it does, have opponents still carried the day? (Debt) In that other Capitol, the politics of pensions and the deficit… (Judges) …and the politics of the non-political branch.

TRANSCRIPT

HELLO AGAIN EVERYONE.  THANKS FOR JOINING US FOR ARKANSAS WEEK. AS WE HEAD INTO THE PRESIDENT'S DAY WEEKEND THERE'S A LOT AT STAKE AT THE ARKANSAS STATE CAPITOL AND THERE ARE INDICATION THAT A LOT OF TELEPHONE CALLS ARE BEING MADE OVER THE NEXT FEE DAYS. JOINING US IS MICHAEL HIBBLEN FROM KUAR WHERE HE IS THE NEWS DIRECTOR AND DAVID RAMSEY FROM THE ARKANSAS TIMES AND THE BUREAU CHIEF OF THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ANDREW DEMILLO AND THANKS FOR COMING IN AND OF COURSE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE PRIVATE OPTION.  DAVID WITHIN THE LAST SEVERAL HOURS THE SPEAKER MR. CARTER ANNOUNCED THAT'S IT WE AMENDED THIS BILL.  WE'RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE ELSE.  TO THE SENATE TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT.

RIGHT IT HAS TO GET THROUGH THE HOUSE FIRST AND FOR A VOTE THIS TUESDAY AND NATE BELL AND JOHN BURRIS ADDED AMENDMENTS TO THE POLICY.  THE NATE BELL AMENDMENTS WHICH PROBABLY PICKED UP A FEW REPUBLICANS IN THE HOUSE AND ANGERRED DEMOCRATS AND BLOCK OUTREACH FUNDING FOR THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR FOR THE PRIVATE OPTION AND THE MARKET PLACE AS A WHOLE AND ANY CONSUMER PURCHASING THE PLAN --

WE'RE GETTING AHEAD OF OURSELVES.  IT'S SO EGREGIOUS THAT THEY WILL LOSE THEM.

IT SOUNDS LIKE THE DEMOCRATS WILL STAND STEADY.  THERE WAS TALK ABOUT LOSING VOTES ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE.  THAT MAY HAPPENING BUT IN THE END WHAT MOST DEMOCRATS  ARE SAYING THEY WILL ESSENTIALLY SWALLOW THE BITTER PILL THERE IS NO POINT -- VOTING NO MEANS LOSING COVERAGE FOR THOUSANDS OF ARKANSANS AND IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE TO BLOCK IT FOR THAT REASON BUT THEY'RE FRUSTRATED ABOUT WHAT BELL ADDED TO THIS AND HE IS SAYING ESSENTIALLY OKAY FOR THE NEXT YEAR YOU CAN HAVE THE UNIVERSAL COVERAGE BUT YOU CAN'T TELL ANYONE ABOUT IT AND DEMOCRATS ARE MAD ABOUT THAT AND THE OTHER THING IS THAT BELL IS EXPLICIT HE BELIEVES HIS AMENDMENT WILL ACTUALLY REDUCE ENROLLMENT IN THE PRIVATE OPTION AND HIS GOAL IN THE NEXT LEGISLATIVE SESSION IS TO KILL IT.  HIS BELIEF IS THAT GIVEN THE CONSTRAINTS OF THE FISCAL SESSION THERE'S NOT A POLITICAL END GAME.  THERE IS NOT A WAY OUT TO BEAT THIS, SO WHAT YOU END UP HAVING IS A SORT OF DIVIDE WITHIN THE DIVIDE OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.  YOU ALREADY HAD A DIVIDE IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OVER THE POLICY, SOME SUPPORT IT, SOME OPPOSE IT AND SOME LIKE NATE BELL SAY ELECTRIC THERE'S NOT A WAY FORWARD.  WE SHOULD GET THE CONCESSIONS WE CAN AND FOR THE TEAM AND OTHERS SAY NO LET'S HOLD STRONG AND BLOCK EVERYTHING IF THAT'S WHAT IT TAKES AND THAT'S WHERE WE'RE AT.  ON TUESDAY THE HOUSE IS GOING TO VOTE.  I KNOW BETTER THAN TO MAKE ANY PREDICTION.  IT SOUNDS LIKE PRIVATE OPTION PROPONENTS ARE REASONABLY CONFIDENT THEY CAN PASS IT IN THE HOUSE EITHER TUESDAY OR EVENTUALLY.  ONCE IT PASSES THE HOUSE THE SPEAKER SAID THAT'S IT WE'RE END NEGOTIATING ANYMORE.  THAT'S THE BILL AND THEN GOES TO THE SENATE WHERE THERE ARE NINE SENATORS WHO PLAN TO VOTE NO, PLAN TO VOTE NO ON THE PRIVATE OPTION IS WITHIN THE MEDICAL SERVICES APPROPRIATIONS PART OF THE DHS BUDGET, BASICALLY THE MEDICAID BUDGET AND THEY PLAN TO VOTE NO AS LONG AS THE PRIVATE OPTION IS IN THERE AND AS NATE BELL PUT IT WE'RE AT AN IMPASSE IT SEEMS TO PICK UP A FEW REPUBLICAN VOTES IN THE HOUSE BUT MADE NO DIFFERENCE IN THE SENATE.

CAN THEY PEEL ONE OFF ANDREW?

THAT'S THE QUESTION AND BASICALLY THE SITUATION LEAVES US IN THE SAME SITUATION HEADING INTO THE SESSION IS THE SENATE IS THE BIG QUESTION MARK. THESE AMENDMENTS -- PRESIDENT MICHAEL LAMOUREUX AND OTHERS WITH THE PRIVATE OPTION AND THESE AMENDMENTS MAY HELP IN THE HOUSE.  THEY DON'T GET THE 27 VOTES THEY NEED IN THE SENATE AND IT'S DIFFICULT TO SEE IF IT CLEARS THE HOUSE HOW THEY GET THERE.  AS DAVID SAID YOU HAVE NINE OPPONENTS AND SAID THESE CHANGES PROHIBITING THE PRIVATE OPTION AND THE OTHER AMENDMENTS PROPOSED THEY DON'T SWAY THEM. THEY DON'T BRING THEM TO YES AND YOU EVEN HAVE SOME SAYING THE ONLY AMENDMENT THEY WILL ACCEPT IS ONE THAT ENDS OR PHASES OUT THE PRIVATE OPTION SO IT'S -- YOU KNOW IT'S KIND OF THE SAME SITUATION WE'RE FACING BEFORE THE SESSION EVEN IF THIS PICKS UP STEAM IN THE HOUSE IT'S HARD TO SEE WHAT IT WOULD TAKE TO GET THE VOTE IN THE SENATE RIGHT.

PART OF BELL'S ARGUMENT IS THAT CLEARLY THEY'RE NINE VOTES TO BLOCK THE APPROPRIATION IN THE SENATE.  THE TRICKY PART AND JUDGE WE'RE AT AN IMPASSE THERE AREN'T ANYWHERE NEAR THE VOTES TO AMEND THE APPROPRIATION OR TO PASS ANOTHER APPROPRIATION IN ITS PLACE SO THE VOTES TO BLOCK IT BUT NOT THE VOTES TO DO ANYTHING ELSE SO YOU GET STUCK. AGAIN THIS IS SORT OF A QUIRK IN THE ARKANSAS CONSTITUTION CERTAIN APPROPRIATIONS HAVE A 75% THRESHOLD.  TRADITIONALLY YOU KNOW TYPICALLY EVEN IF LAWMAKERS DISAGREED WITHIN ONE POLICY WITHIN A APPROPRIATION THAT DOESN'T MEAN THEY WOULD NECESSARILY BLOCK THE APPROPRIATION.  THIS IS A NEW TACTIC ALWAYS AVAILABLE CONSTITUTIONALLY BUT THIS IS A NEW PRECEDENT AND IT'S VERY -- I THINK ANDREW AND I WERE TALKING BEFORE CAMERA AND IT'S UNCLEAR HOW IT PLAYS OUT BECAUSE YEAR AT A POINT WHERE THE ENTIRE MEDICAID BUDGET IS STUCK.  I THINK POLITICALLY THE QUESTION IS ULTIMATELY WHAT IS HAPPENING YOU HAVE NINE SENATORS WHO ARE USING A CONSTITUTIONAL POWER AVAILABLE TO THEM TO BLOCK THIS BUT ULTIMATELY NINE SENATORS BLOCKING THIS POLICY SO THE QUESTION IS DOES THE POLITICAL PRESSURE JUST ON NINE PEOPLE BLOCKING THE POLICY BECOME TOO GREAT AND I THINK NOBODY REALLY KNOWS THE ANSWER TO THAT, BUT I SHOULD BE CLEAR THERE ARE PRIVATE OPTION OPPONENTS THAT EXPLICITLY LET'S SAY LET'S PLAY A GAME OF CHICKEN.  WE'RE WILLING TO HOLD THE ENTIRE MEDICAID BUDGET IF THAT'S WHAT IT TAKES.

MICHAEL A LOT OF ATTENTION IS FOCUSED IN THE LAST 48 HOURS AND SENATOR [INAUDIBLE] AS POTENTIALLY SWAYABLE WITH WHAT?

SHE VOTED AGAINST IT LAST YEAR.

ABSOLUTELY.

BUT SHE'S SAYING SHE COULD GO ANY WAY ON THIS.

AND NOT JUST SENATOR ENGLISH BUT THE OTHER EIGHT AS WELL. WHAT'S THE CHIP?

THAT'S THE ISSUE THAT HAS COME UP.  SPEAKER CARTER HAS BASICALLY SAID THERE ARE NO MORE NEGOTIATIONS AFTER THIS.  THE AMENDMENTS THEY PUT ON THERE HE DOESN'T WANT TO NEGOTIATE ANY OTHER CHANGES.  THAT PUTS THE SENATE AT A VERY DIFFICULT POSITION IF THERE IS A TWEAK OR CHANGE TO THE POLICY OR A PERIPHERAL ISSUE THAT MIGHT GET ANY OF THE NINE SENATORS.  IF THE HOUSE ISN'T WILLING TO NEGOTIATE ANY FURTHER CHANGES WHAT POSITION DOES IT PUT THEM IN?  BUT PART OF THE DIFFICULTY IS YOU'RE NOT HEARING FROM THE OPPONENTS THAT ANY OF THEM SAYING HE'S WHAT WE WOULD LIKE IN CHANGE FOR A YES VOTE AND THE OTHER ONE IS ENDING THE PRIVATE OPTION AND BASICALLY WHAT THE SUPPORTERS ARE TRYING TO PREVENT OBVIOUSLY.

AND CARTER'S ARGUMENT IS ESSENTIALLY WE NEGOTIATED WITH ANYONE INTERESTED IN NEGOTIATING AND I THINK -- YOU ASKED WHAT CHIP IS THERE?

[INAUDIBLE]

AND WE'VE ASKED -- WHEN YOU ASK SENATOR LAMOUREUX THAT WHO IS IN A LOT OF TOUCH WITH THE NINE HIS RESPONSE IS "THERE IS NO CHIP.  THERE IS NO THING THAT GETS THEM OVER THE HUMP.  THEY ARE SIMPLY HARD NOSE.  THEY'RE NOT NEGOTIATING.  THEY'RE NOT AT THE TABLE."  SO IT'S -- EVERYONE SEEMS TO THINK -- AND YOU KNOW SENATOR ENGLISH'S NAME IS THROWN AROUND BUT THERE OTHER NAMES THROWN AROUND AS PEOPLE THAT COULD BE SWAYABLE BUT HOW TO DO THAT?  WHAT THING TAKES THEM FROM POINT A TO POINT B? FRANKLY NOBODY KNOWS AND THAT'S WHY IT'S ALWAYS THE NATURE OF THE LEGISLATURE IS THINGS ARE UNPREDICTABLE BUT THIS IS A VOLATILE SITUATION AND NOBODY HAS AN IDEA HOW DO YOU GET OUT OF THIS, HOW DO YOU GET OUT?

IS IT FAIR TO THINK THAT THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH MIGHT COME INTO PLAY HERE AT SOME POINT?

FIND SOMETHING.

SENATOR ENGLISH OR ANOTHER ONE.

YEAH THE GOVERNOR IS REACHING OUT TO PEOPLE.  WE CAUGHT UP WITH HIM IN LITTLE ROCK AND HE'S NOT CRAZY ABOUT THE AMENDMENTS, WHAT IS BEING TACKED ON TO THIS BUT HE COULD GO ALONG WITH IT IF IT KEPT IT GOING AND IT'S PART OF THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS AND COMPROMISED TO TRY TO SWAY PEOPLE BUT HE'S OPTIMISTIC AND PROBABLY REACHING OUT TO SOME FOLKS TO SEE WHAT HE COULD DO.

AND BEEBE INCLUDED THERE ARE VERY EFFECTIVE AND TALENTED POLITICAL OPERATORS WORKING ON THIS AND IT'S POSSIBLE THAT IT GETS OUT OF THE HOUSE AND THEN THERE'S SOME WAY TOO CONVINCE FOLKS IN THE SENATE TO MOVE FORWARD BUT I ALSO THINK THAT ONE POSSIBILITY IS THAT THE DYNAMIC IS THAT SUCH AN IMPASSE IF IT BECOMES A GAME OF CHICKEN THE NATURE OF THE GAME IS YOU WANT TO BE THE LAST ONE TO JUMP AND THAT BECOMES -- THAT MAKES ME WONDER HOW DOABLE IT IS TO DO ANYTHING DURING THE FISCAL SESSION AND I AM SURE THAT THE GOVERNOR ISN'T THRILLED WITH THIS IDEA, BUT PEOPLE ARE WONDERING DOES THE LEGISLATURE LEAVE THE FISCAL SESSION WITH NO DHS BUDGET AND FORCE TO CALL A SPECIAL SESSION.  KEEP IN MIND COME JULY 1 IF THERE IS NO BUDGET THERE IS NO MEDICAID IN THE STATE, NOT JUST PRIVATE OPTION STUFF BUT TALKING ABOUT THE SAME POLITICAL DEAL THAT HAPPENED WITH MEDICAID CUTS IN THE PAST AND THE NURSING HOMES AND GRANDMA AND ALL OF THAT.

THE OTHER POSSIBILITY THE KEY DATE IS GOING TO BE IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS YOU HAVE THE FILING PERIOD.  I THINK IT ENDS MARCH 3.  THAT'S ANOTHER DATE WHEN PEOPLE ARE WATCHING THAT'S WHEN YOU SEE ACTION IF THERE IS AN IMPASSE.  ONCE THE FIELDS FOR THESE OFFICES, FOR THE PRIMARIES ARE CLEAR THAT MAYBE THE DATE RATHER THAN A SPECIAL SESSION. FROM WHAT THE SPEAKER SAID BEFORE AND WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID THEY WANTED THIS TAKEN CARE OF EARLY ON BUT THAT  DATE MIGHT BE THE KEY TO OTHER.

[INAUDIBLE].

ONE OTHER PIECE IS THE CARRIERS NEED TO DO THIS BY MAY AND NEED TO RESOLVE THIS BUT IF THE MEDICAID BUDGET IS ESSENTIALLY HELD HOSTAGE AND HAVE A SPECIAL SESSION TO DEAL WITH THAT YOU WOULD HAVE A SITUATION THE CARRIERS WOULDN'T KNOW IF THE PRIVATE OPTION IS GOING TO HAPPEN OR NOT AND IMPACT IF CARRIERS COME TO THE STATE AND IMPACT PREMIUM PRICES AND THE WHOLE DEAL SO FROM A POLICY STANDPOINT PUSHING THIS DECISION BACK SORT OF HAS A DISASTER WHOLLY SEPARATE FROM THE POLITICS AND ALL OF THAT. WE ARE COVERING THAT.

SORRY.  ONTO ANOTHER SUBJECT AND THAT IS MUCH MOVEMENT WITHIN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY THIS WEEK WHO WILL BE THE NEXT -- WELL, IT APPEARS WE RESOLVED THROUGH LEGISLATIVE ACTION WON'T BE A LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR FOR THE BALANCE OF THE YEAR BUT THE RACE AS IT WERE TO SUCCEED MR. DARR HAD SOME QUIRKS THIS WEEK.

YEAH.  CONGRESSMAN GRIFFIN MADE IT OFFICIAL AND SAID A WEEK EARLIER HE WAS SERIOUSLY ANSWERING IT --

TWEAKS IN THE RACE.

YEAH, BUT THIS DROPS A BOMB SHELL FOR THE RACE AND YOU HAD THREE STATE LAWMAKERS LOOKING AT RUNNING AND ONE DROPPED OUT AND THAT LEAVES DEBRA HOBBS AND DECIDED TO RUN FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR AND ANDY MAYBERRY BUT I SPOKE AT LENGTH ON THE AIR YESTERDAY WITH CONGRESSMAN GRIFFIN ABOUT THIS.  HE IS ADAMANT THAT THIS WOULD MAKE SENSE TO HIM.  I ASKED THIS SEEMS LIKE IT WOULD BE A STEP DOWN FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS SERVED IN THE WHITE HOUSE AND CONGRESS AND A FEDERAL PROSECUTOR TO GO TO THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR'S POSITION BECAUSE IT'S TYPICALLY A SPOT FOR RISING POLITICIANS, OFTEN STATE LAW MAKERS DOING THIS AND HE CITED WITH HIS YOUNG CHILDREN AND THE DIFFICULT GOING TO WASHINGTON AND HE COULD SPEND TIME ON IT AND IT'S NOT TIME CONSUMING AND PRESIDING OVER THE SESSION AND WHEN THE GOVERNOR IS OUT OF TOWN.  HE SAID AND WORK IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR SEEMS APPEALING TO HIM.  HE'S NOT SAYING WHAT KIND OF WORK HE EXPECTS TO FIND, BUT SAID HE'S EXCITED ABOUT THIS.  HE THINKS THIS WOULD BE REAL APPROPRIATE FOR HIM AND OF COURSE A YEAR AGO AT THIS TIME WE EXPECTED HIM HE WOULD BE A CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR ALONG WITH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BUT BOTH BECAUSE OF CIRCUMSTANCES DECIDED NOT TO. GRIFFIN CITING WHEN HE WAS A POINLTSED TO THE POWERFUL HOUSES WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE SAYING HE WOULD SAY IN CONGRESS BUT NOW WANTS TO BE NEAR HIS CHILDREN AND HE'S EAGER TO FILL THIS AND PROBABLY HAVE A GOOD CHANCE AT THIS.

[INAUDIBLE] HOW HABE PERCEPTION THIS IS.

AND LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR IS A STEP UP.

EXACTLY.  YOU CAN SORT OF SEE FOR LIFESTYLE REASONS WHY THAT WOULD BE THE CASE AND CLEARLY BEING AT HOME NOT HAVING TO TRAVEL BACK AND FORTH.  I THINK ALSO IN SOME WAYS -- I DO THINK HE PROBABLY HAS ASPIRATIONS FOR OTHER STATE WIDE OFFICES AND PERHAPS LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR IS A BETTER METHOD GOING FORWARD. YOU MENTIONED WHAT HE'S GOING TO DO IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR. THAT'S AN INTERESTING QUESTION. IT'S ASSUMED HE'S GOING TO DO SOMETHING IN THE REALM OF LOBBYING OR CONSULTING AND MAYBE HE COULD DO THAT AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL BUT MIGHT POTENTIALLY RAISE QUESTIONS IF HE RUNS FOR OFFICE.

YEAH.  I DON'T THINK THIS IS A RACE WE WERE EXPECTING TO SPEND TIME ON AND THE NATIONAL RACE AND GOVERNOR'S  GOVERNOR'S RACE AND THESE OTHERS AND HE'S AN ATTRACTIVE CANDIDATE AND DEMOCRATS  ARE TREATING HIM AS THE NOMINEE AND A SYMBOL OF DYSFUNCTIONAL WASHINGTON AND GOING AFTER HIM AND I THINK THAT SHOWS JUST HOW COMPETITIVE OF A RACE IT'S GOING TO BE AND THIS IS GOING TO BE ONE OF THE TOP RACES FOR IRONICALLY WHAT IS CONSIDERED PART TIME CEREMONIAL JOB.

YEAH, WE WILL SPEND A LOT OF TIME COVERING THE RACE AND THE ARKANSAS GENERAL ASSEMBLY DECIDED THIS.

AND YEAH AND CHANGES THE RACE AND BURKHALTER SEEMED LIKE A CANDIDATE AND CONNECTIONS TO STATE LEADERS THIS.  NOW I THINK GRIFFIN WOULD GIVE HIM A MUCH STRONGER RUN THAN OBVIOUSLY ANY OF THE REPUBLICANS IN THIS RACE BEFORE.

ANDY MAYBERRY IS AN EFFECTIVE CAMPAIGNER.  HE HAS A STRONG BASE IN THE PRO-LIFE COMMUNITY. IT'S JUST TRICKY FOR HIM IN PARTICULAR THOUGH BECAUSE HE'S ROOTED IN CENTRAL ARKANSAS.

ANDS ALSO A PRIVATE OPTION SUPPORTER.

CORRECT.  THAT'S TRUE AND GRIFFIN -- HE HEDGES JUST A BIT, GIVES HIMSELF A BIT OF ROOM BUT HE DID SAY RECENTLY HE WOULD OPPOSE THE PRIVATE OPTION AND WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY AND IN THE END GRIFFIN'S NAME RECOGNITION VERSUS MAY BERRY'S WILL CARRY THE DAY.

PERHAPS THE ARKANSAS GENERAL ASSEMBLY COULD TAKE A LESSON FROM THE COUNTER PART IN THE NATION'S CAPITOL THAT GOT THROUGH ANOTHER DEBT VOTE WITH ALL THINGS CONSIDERED MICHAEL LIMITED CHAOS ALTHOUGH WE HAD A SPLIT.

YEAH REPUBLICANS DIDN'T GET MUCH OF ANYTHING OUT OF THIS. THEY DECIDED -- WE HAD THE NASTY GOVERNMENT SHUT DOWN LAST FALL AND DIDN'T WANT TO GO THROUGH ANOTHER DIVISIVE FIGHT LIKE THAT SO THE SENATE VOTED ALONG PARTY LINES 55-43 TO GO ALONG WITH THIS.  SENATOR PRYOR VOTED FOR IT.  SENATOR BOOZMAN VOTED AGAINST IT.  HE SAID HE OPPOSED RAISING THE DEAL DEBT CEILING WITHOUT DOING THIS AND ALL OTHER MEMBERS IN THE HOUSE VOTED AGAINST IT AND TO A DEGREE PEOPLE WANT TO WAIT AND SEE WHAT THE MAKEUP OF CONGRESS IS LIKE NEXT YEAR.  MAYBE PERHAPS THEN THE SENATE COULD BE DIFFERENT. OBVIOUSLY REPUBLICANS HOPING TO WIN THE MAJORITY BACK IN THE SENATE.

IN THE NEAR TERM TOO YOU HAD THE PENSION ISSUE OF THE VETERANS AND VOAFEN INTO THE DEBT ISSUE.

YEAH, THIS WAS PART OF THIS AS WELL AND SENATOR PRYOR WAS ONE OF THE LEADERS ON THIS AND EVEN GOT SOME PRAISE FROM OFFICIALS IN WASHINGTON FOR THAT.  SENATOR BOOZMAN WENT ALONG WITH IT.  HE SAID HE DIDN'T LIKE THIS IS BASICALLY THE ACTION THAT IS TAKEN -- THESE WERE CUTS TO THE COSTS OF LIVING FOR RETIRED VETS 62 AND OLDER I BELIEVE --

OR UNDER.

UNDER, YES.  AND --

A 1% REDUCTION.

A 1% REDUCTION BUT IT HAD PEOPLE UPSET.  THIS STOPPED THIS FROM THIS TAKING EFFECT. BOOZMAN SAID HE WENT ALONG WITH IT ALTHOUGH HE DIDN'T KNOW HOW THEY WERE GOING TO PAY FOR IT. PRYOR SAID HE WAS FINE GOING ALONG WITH IT AND BOOZE  MAN SAID THIS IS SOMETHING HE CAN'T DO.

ON THE DEBT CEILING VOTE AND THE VOTES AND FROM THE ARKANSAS GROUP AND HOW IT USED TO HAPPEN AND [INAUDIBLE] FROM THE OPPOSITION PARTY.  THE MAJOR DIFFERENCE AND THIS ONE AND THE PREVIOUS DEBT CEILING FIGHT IS ESSENTIALLY IN 2011 THERE WAS A NEGOTIATION AROUND THE DEBT CEILING AND THAT'S HOW WE ENDED UP WITH THE SEQUESTRATION DEAL AND SO FORTH AND BASICALLY AFTER HIS REELECTION PRESIDENT OBAMA SAID WE'RE NOT NEGOTIATED OVER THE DEBT CEILING.  THERE WAS A CALL WHETHER IT WAS A BLUFF OR NOT BUT SEEMED THAT PRECEDENT HAS ENDED.  WE MENTIONED THE SPLIT WITHIN THE SPLIT.  YOU SEE A SIMILAR DEAL IN DC WHERE YOU HAVE SOME REPUBLICANS THAT SAY WE HAVE TO BE WILLING TO GO ALL THE WAY UP TO THE LINE TO GO OVER THE LINE TO CRASH THE DEBT CEILING.  WE CAN GET EXTRACTIONS.  WE CAN DEFUND OBAMACARE AND SOME SAY POLITICALLY THAT DOESN'T HAVE AN END GAME.  THAT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE.  THERE ISN'T DISAGREEMENT ABOUT POLICY BUT ABOUT STRATEGY AND YOU SEE THE SAME THING WITH THE PRIVATE OPTION AND SOME PEOPLE SAYING LET'S GO UP TO THE LINE.  IF THIS MEANS LOSING THE MEDICAID BUDGET THAT'S WHAT IT MEANS AND OTHERS SAYING THERE IS NO END GAME HERE.  YES, I OPPOSE THE PRIVATE OPTION BUT THIS ISN'T THE WAY SO THERE IS LITTLE PARALLEL WHERE YOU HAVE -- AGAIN IT'S JUST A SPLIT IN TACTICS.

ALWAYS THIS AND JAMMED UP PARTICULARLY ON THE SENATE SIDE IS JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS VEXING POLITICAL PROBLEM FOR MEMBERS OF BOTH SIDES BUT PARTICULARLY DEMOCRATS BECAUSE THEY'RE IN THE SENATOR AND WE HAVE TWO AND ONE ON THE EAST AND THE WEST HUNG UP.

YES PRESIDENT OBAMA APPOINTED THESE TWO AND PULASKI COUNTY MOODY AND TIMOTHY BROOKS AND THIS IS A BIG FIGHT IN WASHINGTON TRYING NOT TO FILL THESE JCIALG VACANCIES WHILE YOU HAVE A DEMOCRAT IN THE PRESIDENCY.  SENATOR PRYOR WORKED TO FAST TRACK THAT THIS WEEK BUT WAS HALTED SOMEWHAT BY THE IOWA CONGRESSMAN GRASSLEY WHO SAID "WELL, YOU KNOW BRING IT UP FOR A VOTE IF YOU WANT TO DO THIS"  SO I'M NOT SURE WHERE STANDS AT THIS POINT.

WELL, WE HAVE A CLOTURE VOTE COMING UP IN THE MIDDLE OF NEXT WEEK.

YEAH.  AND YOU KNOW THERE'S AN ONGOING FIGHT IN THE SENATE ABOUT WHETHER PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATIONS ARE GOING TO GET UP OR DOWN VOTES OR NOT AND IT SEEMS LIKE -- IT SEEMS LIKE HARRY REID HAS INTEREST IN KIND OF DRAWING A LINE IN THE SAND, BUT THERE ARE -- THERE ARE A LOT OF TOOLS IN THE SENATE TO SLOW THINGS DOWN SO WE WILL SEE WHERE THIS ONE GOES.

AND YEAH IT'S WORTH NOTING TOO NOT ONCE BUT TWICE THE SENATE RECOMMENDED THEM AND ONE REPUBLICAN AND ONE DEMOCRAT AND STILL THE LOG JAM SO WE HAVE BITTER FEELINGS IN THE SENATE THAT ARE PRIMARILY RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS JAM AND WE WILL END IT THERE.  THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR COMING IN. THANKS TO YOU FOR WATCHING AND WE WILL SEE YOU NEXT WEEK.

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