Today is day 60 of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s Obamacare budget impasse.
For 60 days, Governor McAuliffe and his allies in the State Senate have held the state budget hostage, refusing to pass a plan to fund our schools, roads, law enforcement and local governments unless Virginia implements Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.
Rather than debate the merits of Medicaid expansion as a standalone issue, they are using the state budget, and the eight million Virginians who rely on it, as leverage. That is creating tremendous uncertainty for local governments, school boards and colleges and universities, who rely on the timely passage of the state budget.
Over the last week, top Senate Democrats have made it clear they are willing to take Virginia past the June 30 deadline for a new budget plan. In other words, they will stop for nothing — it’s Obamacare or else. This reckless and irresponsible approach to governing will jeopardize Virginia’s AAA bond rating and its reputation as one of the nation’s best managed states.
Recent polling shows that the people of Virginia oppose Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion because Virginia simply cannot rely on the false promise of free federal money. Polling also shows that Virginians overwhelmingly want to see a compromise to avoid a state government shutdown.
The House of Delegates has offered a clear compromise to end the gridlock. The General Assembly should pass a clean budget that keeps state government open, funds our schools, roads and local governments now, and continue the debate over Medicaid expansion down the road.
Yes, Republicans and Democrats disagree on Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. That debate can and will continue. But a disagreement over a single issue should not delay the entire state budget.
That might be how they do things in Washington, but it isn’t the Virginia way.