Today is day 89 of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s Obamacare budget crisis and apparently the start of summer vacation season for Senate Democrats.
Republicans in Virginia’s House of Delegates have moved up to next week a legislative hearing on the budget impasse to show their seriousness about resolving it before a June 30 deadline, a decision they juxtaposed with top Senate Democrats’ June travel plans.
“We don’t have time to take vacations,” Suffolk Del. Chris Jones said of Democrats during a briefing also attended by House Majority Leader Kirk Cox of Colonial Heights and Del. Steve Landes of Augusta County — members of the House budget negotiating team.
Rather than shame him, though, Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw, fired back with a glib ‘kiss off’ salute.
“If they don’t like it like it, they can observe the mistletoe attached to my coattail,” the veteran Fairfax County legislator told The Virginian-Pilot Wednesday evening.
Saslaw said he is spending several days in California starting Saturday to celebrate the birth of his first grandchild.
His longtime colleague, Sen. Janet Howell of Fairfax, is taking her granddaughter on a trip to South Africa and returning June 24, according to The Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Jones said the budget-shaping Appropriations Committee will meet next Wednesday, rather than the following Monday as initially scheduled, due to the importance of getting a deal done before the current budget expires at the end of this month.
Senator Saslaw’s caustic response is indicative of the approach Governor McAuliffe and his allies are taking to Virginia’s budget crisis: they just don’t care about the consequences. It’s Obamacare or else.
The House of Delegates has offered a rational and reasonable path to ending this crisis: listen to the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and over 100 other local governments, school boards, business groups and elected officials who say lawmakers should set aside Medicaid expansion and pass a budget as quickly as possible.