Today is day 44 of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s Obamacare budget impasse.
Governor McAuliffe and the Democrat-controlled State Senate have held the state budget hostage for 44 days, delaying funding for schools, roads, law enforcement and local governments in an effort to bring Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion to Virginia.
They are creating tremendous uncertainty for local governments, school boards and the business community, as well as threatening Virginia’s prestigous AAA bond rating.
Now, Governor McAuliffe and Senate Democrats are trying to justify their actions using an obscure legislative technicality. But there is no justification for holding all of state government hostage over a single issue, especially one as controversial as Obamacare.
Threatening a government shutdown over one issue is, in the words of Senator Mark Warner, “irresponsible” and “not the way you govern.” Governor McAuliffe said “these things should never be used as bargaining chips.”
What Governor McAuliffe and Senate Democrats are doing is wrong – and they know it.
The clear path forward is for the State Senate to separate Medicaid expansion from budget deliberations, pass a clean budget that funds the core functions of state government, and continue the debate on the controversial issue of Medicaid expansion in a separate special session.