Day Two of Gov. McAuliffe’s Budget Impasse

HouseGOP2014 General Assembly Session, Budget, Health Care, Issues

Today is day two of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s budget impasse. For day one, click here.

Governor McAuliffe isn’t in this alone. The top Democrats in the Virginia Senate are standing with him in their effort to expand Obamacare in Virginia – and they’re just as willing to use Virginia’s budget as a bargaining chip to accomplish their goals.

Senator Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax) told the Richmond Times-Dispatch he wasn’t concerned that the budget wasn’t done and that it was Medicaid expansion or else:

Senate Democrats said they were not concerned over not having a budget deal Saturday, and reiterated their position that they will not agree to a spending plan that does not incorporate a form of Medicaid expansion.

“We got a long way to go,” said Senate Democratic leader Richard L. Saslaw, D-Fairfax. “Let everybody go home, cool off, rest for a couple of weeks and come back.”

Saslaw said he would be surprised if a deal is done in the special session. But he noted: “We’re not going to agree to a budget without that.”

Last week, Senators Don MacEachin (D-Henrico) and Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) said the exact same thing:

But the Senate’s 20 Democrats – who allied with three Republican senators to approve the Marketplace Virginia plan as part of the budget – say they are not willing to approve a budget without the health insurance expansion in it.

“That’s where I am,” McEachin said.

Sen. Barbara A. Favola, D-Arlington, added, “That’s where we are.”

Regardless of how one feels about Obamacare, holding hostage funding for our schools, teachers, police officers, firefighters and local governments is wrong. Threatening a state government shutdown if you don’t get what you want is not the Virginia way.

Despite Senator Saslaw’s lack of concern, local governments, school boards, colleges and universities and businesses depend on the timely passage of a state budget. Each day of delay creates greater uncertainty and threatens Virginia’s AAA bond rating.

The House of Delegates has offered a clear path forward: Virginia should pass a clean budget, and then we can hold a special session to debate the issue of Obamacare.