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With More Than 260 Amendments, House Budget Debate Expected To Last Into Evening

Ryan Poppe | Texas Public Radio

Both Republicans and Democrats say it will be a long day as the House considers a Senate budget bill. An amendment added by Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, addresses the possibility of Medicaid expansion in Texas.

"My amendment says that if we do do Medicaid expansion that any of the cost-savings that we would see would go to paying reimbursement rates to providers, because one of the biggest problems whether we expand Medicaid or not is that we have is a lack of providers, and part of the reason for that is a lack of adequate reimbursement rates," said Howard.

House Appropriations Chair Jim Pitts, R- Waxahachie, said the bill in its current form restores $3.5 billion of the public education cuts taken during the 2011 session.

"The additional money has been appropriated through several different methods to make sure that it flows quickly and equitability to school districts across the state," Pitts said.

However, some on the Democratic side of the House see that measure as unconstitutional, and have asked for full restoration of the money taken from the education budget.