State House to vote on $4B bill to close deficit

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas House is expected to take up a supplemental spending bill to close a $4 billion budget deficit.

Texas lawmakers in 2011 passed a budget that did not set aside enough money to pay for Medicaid, the health care program for the poor and disabled. That's left a hole in the current budget that must be filled by next month.

House Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts has introduced an emergency bill that will be debated Thursday. The bill only provides enough money to solve the Medicaid shortfall.

Democrats pushed to add additional money to help offset $5.4 billion in education cuts made in 2011, but the Republican leadership has promised to consider that matter later.

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