“The General Assembly has spoken clearly in overwhelmingly voting for the bipartisan plan to restore the Medicare Savings Program,’’ Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said Wednesday. “I expect that Democrats and Republicans will remain consistent in their votes when we are called back for a veto session.”
Senate Republican leader Len Fasano agreed. “Republicans and Democrats stood together earlier this month to restore funding for the Medicare Savings Program without increasing this year’s deficit,’’ he said. “We acted together to do what was right for thousands of Connecticut seniors and disabled individuals.”
House Republican Leader Themis Klarides took a similar stance Tuesday night, when she denounced Malloy’s veto as “unsurprising but unfortunate.”
Lawmakers and Malloy have been locked in a dispute over funding for the program since late last year, when word spread that it had been cut in the budget signed by the governor on Halloween. Malloy declared that he was postponing any reductions until July 1, but lawmakers crafted a bipartisan plan to restore the money, saying the governor lacked the authority to take this step unilaterally.
Malloy would like the legislature to tackle the entire projected deficit of $222 million for the current fiscal year. The legislature ignored that request and instead voted only on restoring the money for the Medicare Savings Program by votes of 130-3 in the House of Representatives and 32-1 in the Senate. The votes exceeded the veto-proof margins, which are 101 votes in the House and 24 in the Senate.
“Gov. Malloy has executive authority but he does not have legislative authority. He cannot just ignore part of the budget the legislature passed,’’ Fasno said. That is why we needed a legislative fix, as we already voted on and passed, to protect our constitution. Furthermore, Gov. Malloy’s ‘solution’ entails deficit spending, conflicting with the promises he made in the fall not to spend any money that would increase this year’s deficit. The governor’s actions demand an immediate and swift response from the legislature.’’
If they fail to override the governor’s veto, Fasano said, “lawmakers will be setting a dangerous precedent that any governor can abrogate legislative authority under his or her sole discretion.”
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