Today is day 75 of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s Obamacare budget impasse.
Governor McAuliffe’s continued assertation that he has “broad authority” to act unilaterally if the Commonwealth passes the June 30, 2014 budget deadline is beginning to raise more than a few eyebrows.
From the Charlottesville Daily Progress:
Now Mr. McAuliffe says that if they fail this time, he will keep the government open by spending state money without a budget.Key Republican legislators say he lacks the authority to do this. Lawyers for the General Assembly’s Division of Legislative Services concur that his spending powers would be severely limited in the absence of a budget.
Taking Mr. McAuliffe’s statements together, we seem to be left with this brand of logic:
If the General Assembly does not pass a budget that the governor likes, then he will not sign it and will proceed to spend the state’s money as he chooses.
If the General Assembly does not pass a state budget at all, then he will proceed to spend the state’s money as he chooses.
And if the General Assembly passes a budget that the governor approves, he also will proceed to spend the state’s money as he chooses — because the budget then will contain the priorities that he chooses.
Anyone else see a problem with this?
Yes, this is a problem and it is exactly why Governor McAuliffe needs to explain what authority he thinks he has and why it is necessary for him to exercise it.
From the Richmond Times Dispatch:
House Appropriations Chairman S. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, has a two-word response to Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s assertion that he has legal authority to run the state government without a budget on July 1: Prove it.
Jones sent a letter to McAuliffe late Wednesday that challenged the governor to cite his authority to continue running the government if the General Assembly hasn’t adopted a budget appropriating the money to pay for it.
“In an effort to maintain clarity regarding the continued operation of state government, I respectfully request that you provide to the General Assembly a detailed and thorough explanation and legal analysis of your plans to operate state government absent an appropriations law and on what authority you base those plans,” the chairman asked McAuliffe in a three-page letter also sent to all members of the House of Delegates.
Governor McAuliffe and his Democrat-controlled Senate have put Virginia on track to a government shutdown.
They are demanding Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion in exchange for passing the state budget. They are holding hostage funding for teachers, roads, law enforcement and local governments and threatening Virginia’s AAA bond rating so they can get their way on Obamacare.
The simple and fair resolution to the current impasse is to set aside Medicaid expansion and pass a state budget immediately.
Over 100 local governments, school boards, business groups and local elected leaders support separating Medicaid expansion from the budget.
Polling shows that an overwhelming number of Virginians (71%) want to see a compromise to avoid a state government shutdown. Passing a budget immediately is that compromise.
The Virginia Chamber of Commerce says lawmakers should set aside Medicaid expansion and pass a budget in order to protect Virginia’s AAA bond rating and reputation as one of the nation’s best managed states.
Veteran Democrat Senator Chuck Colgan says we need to “deal with the state budget” and then come back “in a special session [to debate] Medicaid expansion.” Democrat Daun Hester agrees that the Senate is “holding our budget hostage.”
It’s time to end the stalemate. Republicans and Democrats disagree on Medicaid expansion, but that single disagreement should not prevent the Governor and General Assembly from finishing work on the state budget that eight million Virginians rely on.
It’s time to set Medicaid expansion aside and pass the budget now.