LANSING – House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) and Rep. Brandon Dillon (D-Grand Rapids) slammed the Senate Republicans today for caving in to Tea Party pressure to kill a Medicaid expansion bill. The failure of Republicans keeps health care out of reach of 400,000 Michigan residents, while easing Republican legislators’ fears of facing a primary challenge from Tea Party supporters.

“This is the latest example of the Tea Party running our state government,” Greimel said. “Rather than heed the recommendation of their Republican governor and pro-business organizations such as the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Republicans in the Senate cravenly capitulated to a small group of extremists who would rather see their neighbors suffer from untreated disease than accept federal funds to expand Medicaid. They did nothing to help out small businesses who begged them to pass this bill because it would bring them relief. Voters should hold them accountable at the ballot box.”

House Bill 4714, which would have expanded Medicaid in Michigan through the use of federal funds, passed in the House last week. Republican senators refused to vote on the measure today, effectively letting the bill die in the chamber on the last day before the legislators’ summer work period. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley cut short trips to Israel and the Upper Peninsula, respectively, to return to Lansing and lobby for passage of the bill, but Republicans in the Senate wouldn’t budge.

“What happened today was the betrayal of 400,000 hard-working Michiganders who simply wanted to be able to see a doctor and maintain their health,” Dillon said. “Republicans decided that a few Tea Party extremists were more important than hundreds of thousands of people. The Republicans have been effective at raising taxes and cutting education but when it comes to helping hundreds of thousands of people they failed. Those people who were looking to us to make it possible to finally access health care and save taxpayer money should be furious. It is a dark day for Michigan’s working families.”