LANSING (WILX)-- The Senate has taken one step forward and two steps back with Medicaid expansion.
They didn't take a vote on Wednesday, and instead has created a work group that will rewrite the House bill 4714. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are frustrated, but they hope a new bipartisan work group will find common ground.
"At first the group wasn't bipartisan, but then I told the Republicans if they didn't add some Democrats they would have a tough time getting our vote. We need to move forward with this, and get this to the governors desk as soon as possible," said Gretchen Whitmer (D) Senate Democratic Leader.
Majority Senate Leader Randy Richardville (R) helped choose the work group. He's confident there will be new bill before the summer session is over.
"I think there is a better product or solution that we need to explore. We're planning on meeting every two weeks and within only a couple of weeks we'll have something we can consider at the committee level.
But Democrats don't want to take a few more weeks, and some are starting to feel they've lost the opportunity to win the Medicaid fight.
Whitmer blamed Governor Snyder on Wednesday for not getting the Senate to take a vote before they left for summer vacation.
"We're trying to play make up. He's working hard and I'm glad for it. But I think if he was a governor who knew how to use the power of his office, we wouldn't be in a situation like this."
Senator Rick Jones (R)- Grand Ledge, thinks the Republicans lost an opportunity as well on Wednesday. He was one of the few from his party that wanted to take a vote.
"If we would've voted, it would've been a strong no vote."
The Senate committee will take public testimony about the expansion during its next meeting on July 17th. Time and location are yet to be scheduled, we'll let you know when we get those details.