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Agenda Texas: Medicaid Expansion and the Week Ahead

On today's Agenda Texas from KUT News and The Texas Tribune: A look at what's ahead for the House and Senate in the last eight weeks of the legislative session, along with an update on the debate over Medicaid expansion.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, decries Obamacare at a Capitol press conference on April 1, 2013.

It’s another busy week ahead for the Texas Legislature. With just eight weeks left in the session, there’s still lots to do. So to help us sort out the big items to watch for during the week, we talked with Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey.

"Well, the Senate is going to look at CPRIT. There's some education legislation wandering around that could come up for consideration in the Senate. And the House is going to look at the budget. The Legislature has plenty of money this session. We didn't walk into a deficit situation. We didn't walk into a situation where we have to cut the budget. So we won't have things like the education cuts we had in 2011. We won't have the conversation about short-sheeting the Medicaid program like we did in 2011. But when the House gets into a situation where they're going to spend all day arguing on something as big as the budget, and they have 267 opportunities to argue, they'll find something."

One of the highest-profile events this week has already happened. On Monday morning, Gov. Rick Perry met with U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz to talk about the state’s refusal to join in the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. Over the chants of protesters, Perry told reporters he hasn’t changed his mind.

"Expanding Medicaid is not a solution," Perry said. "It’s not even a Band-Aid for what ails us. In short, it’s a prescription for failure. And Texas will not be part of it.”

Not to be outdone, the highest-profile Democrats in the state, including San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, followed immediately with a press conference making the case for expansion. But there’s very little anyone wanting expansion can do in Texas without Perry’s approval.

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