Lt. Governor Is Split On Administration’s Big Bills

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(Host) The House will take up debate on two of the biggest bills of the session this week — the budget and healthcare.

On one of these issues, Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott, a Republican, fundamentally agrees with Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin. On the other, he doesn’t.

VPR’s Samantha Fields has more.

(Fields) In spite of their party differences, Governor Shumlin and Lieutenant Governor Scott are on the same page when it comes to the biggest issue facing the state right now… the budget. They are both opposed to any new taxes.

(Scott) "Given the economic climate I’m not sure that we have any other place to go than to reduce some cost without further pressuring others within the state. So I’m supporting the Governor in terms of his mission to do this within our means."

(Fields) But Scott does disagree with the Governor over the issue that Shumlin has made his biggest priority: reforming healthcare.

(Scott) "I happen to feel that we have a pretty good system of healthcare. It just costs a lot. And it’s costing more. And we can’t afford that either." 

(Fields) Scott says he is in favor of healthcare reform… but he doesn’t agree with the approach the Governor’s taking. He says the current bill does not adequately address how it will be paid for. He likened it to buying a new car without first knowing how much it will cost.

(Scott) "It seems as though we’re ordering the car right now and we’re going to wait for it to get here and then say, aw jeez, we’ll figure out a way to pay for this one way or another."

(Fields) Scott also says he believes the bill is moving through the legislature too quickly. Instead of pushing something through this session, he says the process should be slowed down, and there should be more discussion.

(Scott) "I believe that we’re rushing this for the sake of coming up with a bill to tell people we fixed this, when I think we’re just setting them up for disappointment because we haven’t fixed anything yet."

(Fields) The House is scheduled to begin debating the healthcare bill on Wednesday.

For VPR News, I’m Samantha Fields.




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