Texas Senate passes $6.6 billion emergency spending bill for Medicaid

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A $6.6 billion emergency spending bill to mostly cover unpaid Medicaid costs is closer to landing on Gov. Rick Perry's desk.

The Senate on Tuesday passed the measure after Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis withdrew an amendment that sought to tack on $400 million more in public education spending. Republican Sen. Tommy Williams, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, told Davis that conversation needs to wait for another spending bill.

Budget writers say doctors and hospitals won't get paid unless the Legislature this month approves the emergency bill that includes $4.5 billion for Medicaid costs. Another $1.8 billion in the bill reverses a deferred public school payment that lawmakers in 2011 moved off the books to help close a massive budget shortfall.

The bill now moves back to the Hose.