When the General Assembly adjourned on March 8 without a budget, Governor Terry McAuliffe said members of the legislature should use the two week break to go home and hear from their constituents.
He probably didn’t mean for this to happen.
At a town hall meeting last night, Democratic Delegate Sam Rasoul (Roanoke) admitted, without reservation or hesitation, that the Governor and Democrats were using the budget as leverage.
Max Beyer of Roanoke County questioned why the Senate “was holding up passing the budget over this issue” and creating uncertainty for local governments and schools.“What I hear is political gamesmanship,” said Beyer, adding that the Medicaid debate should be dealt with separately.
“You seem to refuse to do that, and I think that is making a lot of hardship on local governments and educational institutions,” Beyer said.
Rasoul acknowledged that the budget provides supporters of Medicaid expansion with their best leverage.
“We know that if we separate this from the budget, it’s just not going to happen,” Rasoul said.
Republicans in the House of Delegates have offered to give Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion a full hearing in a separate special session, but Governor McAuliffe and his allies would rather use the budget as a bargaining chip.
Their political games are harming Virginia’s local governments and threaten Virginia’s AAA bond rating. That’s unacceptable. Virginia’s teachers, firefighters, police officers and state employees are people, not bargaining chips.
The Governor and General Assembly Democrats should drop their demands for Obamacare and let Virginia pass a clean budget.