House GOP tries to have it both ways on HHS bill

House Republicans have unveiled a health and human services omnibus bill with a $1 billion cut in spending in programs serving seniors and our state’s most vulnerable citizens.

This is a far cry from the outrage Republicans displayed in 2013 when DFLers, faced with a $627 million budget deficit, cut $150 million from the health and human services budget.

They cannot have it both ways – criticizing DFLers for making cuts to balance a budget deficit while they are cutting $1 billion at a time when the state has a $1.9 billion budget surplus.

Highlights from the 2013 House floor debate include:

“Folks, this bill that we have before us is cutting health and human services by $150 million. Where are the priorities? How are we protecting the vulnerable citizens in this state when we’re adding 130 FTEs and sacrificing 150 million in cuts to our most vulnerable population.”  -Sarah Anderson (9:05:58)

“We’ve had a long debate here today, but I have to tell you, I am stunned. Democrats are proposing one of the largest tax increases in this state’s history, and in the same breath, have the nerve to cut funding for our most vulnerable Minnesotans. There is no excuse.” – Kurt Daudt (9:06:40)

“An improved budget outlook. Three billion dollars in new taxes and fees. Increased spending in every budget area. And this is the one area that Democrats are shortchanging. This is irresponsible, and I urge a no vote.”- Kurt Daudt (09:09:25)

News articles from 2013 include:

DFL’s plan to cut health, human services spending comes as surprise, MPR

Republican Rep. Jim Abeler of Anoka said he was shocked when he saw the budget target. Abeler chaired the House Health and Human Services Committee when the Republicans were in charge. He said he never thought Democrats would raise taxes and yet cut the human services budget.

“They’re raising billions of dollars and putting it everywhere like to the courts and environment, and those are wonderful,” Abeler said, “but there’s only one part of government where people could die and that’s in our area where the people with disabilities and health care and rural hospitals. I was just really surprised. Nobody saw that coming.”

 Proposed $150 million health cuts surprise, anger lawmakers, Capitol Chatter

Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, said she does not have a problem with cuts, but this area actually needs increased funding.

Franson said, especially in greater Minnesota, hospitals and nursing homes are having trouble keeping good employees because of the pay and some people are not getting the care they need. “They are really struggling,” she said.

GOP legislators call for more spending on nursing homes, MinnPost

Rosen maintains the DFL just needs to rethink funding goals. “I think that they have so many wants and so many interests groups banging on their doors, they have lost their priority and they lost their focus, which is seniors, the vulnerable, and children.”