Here are a few highlights from Gov. McAuliffe’s interview on The Politics Hour yesterday (I’m focusing on the Medicaid expansion discussion, because to me this is priority #1 for Virginia right now).
*According to Gov. McAuliffe, House Speaker Howell did admit the other day on the radio that “yes indeed, this Marketplace Virginia IS germane to the budget, so their whole argument that they’ve been using the for the last several months the Speaker admitted is a wrong argument.”
*”It is the House Republican leadership that has dug in on this issue, and I don’t know whether they don’t like the president…doesn’t really matter to me, my job as governor is to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
*”It is the General Assembly’s job to pass a budget; they have failed to do their job.”
*House Republicans “have put up one roadblock after another.” The argument that healthcare expansion will cost Virginia is false.
*This is sheer politics, anti-ACA; “what else is there?” According to Gov. McAuliffe, “no matter where you may be on the healthcare bill, it’s now the law of the land…[House Republicans] are off in their corner; it’s time they started doing their job, representing the folks who sent them to Richmond.”
*What is the “exit strategy” with Medicaid expansion? According to McAuliffe, the House has “no arguments left.” “We are going to get this done.” “The House Republicans are offering nothing.” Did anyone hear anything about an “exit strategy” or “Plan B” in Gov. McAuliffe’s answer there? I most definitely didn’t (unless he’s got something up his sleeve – like unilateral executive action of some sort? – but, to mix metaphors, is playing it close to the vest?). Nor am I hearing that from others I talk to about this. Which means…what? Government shutdown? Gov. McAuliffe “caves” because he doesn’t want a government shutdown? Because, frankly, I don’t see House Republicans caving, certainly not before the 2014 elections, and probably not before the 2015 elections either. So…then what becomes of the McAuliffe governorship at that point? Got me.
*On restoring ex-felons’ right to vote, McAuliffe said “people who have paid their debt to society…I want them back working, I want them part of society; part of that is being able to vote...Let’s treat people with dignity and respect.”