AUSTIN -- An emergency $4.5 billion spending bill for Medicaid is on its way to the full Texas Senate -- but with a slight twist.
The powerful Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday tacked on a provision that would require lawmakers to approve another bill that would reverse a nearly $2 billion deferral in education spending that budget-slashing lawmakers passed in 2011.
The provision was not in the emergency bill passed by the full Texas House last week. Republican Jim Pitts, the top budget writer in the House, has said the Medicaid bill must be on Gov. Rick Perry's desk next month or doctors and hospitals won't get paid.
Reversing the deferral now would give the Legislature more money to potentially spend while writing the current budget.