If You Thought THAT Was Stupid…Now Comes the Virginia House of Delegates!

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    So, if you thought this day couldn’t get any “more stupider,” following the – not joking here – ***skins Pride Caucus announcement, we now have the potential for getting REALLY stupid, as the Teapublican-controlled Virginia House of Delegates kicks into special session to deal with/dispose of Gov. McAuliffe’s vetoes. Should be…er, fun? Well, maybe not. If you can stomach actually watching it, click here. If not, I’ll try to live blog it, although I’m not sure even my stomach’s strong enough for this level of stew-pid.

    UPDATE 8:40 pm: ‏@RTDSchapiro tweets, “Surprise — not! In #Va Senate, Restored GOP majority to ram reshuffled cmte assignments. Could be for naught if D’s win 8/19 special elex.”

    UPDATE 6:10 pm: Speaker Howell says that Gov. McAuliffe has applied the line-item veto on the MIRC and Stanley amendments in a manner outside of his veto authority. For the reasons he’s laid out, Howell’s determined that item 301ttt paragraph 9 does not constitute an item subject to his veto authority, ergo it’s out of order. In other words, as  ‏@RTDSchapiro tweets, “BREAKING @SpeakerHowell throws out @GovernorVA McAuliffe vetoes clearing Republican obstacles to Medicaid-financed health care fix.” Howell also rules that Gov. McAuliffe’s judicial veto out of order.

    UPDATE 6:08 pm: @NARALVirginia tweets, “House votes to override @GovernorVA’s veto of ethics commission. More votes to come.”

    UPDATE 5:55 pm: Del. Vivian Watts (D-Fairfax) says she’s not going to get into rhetoric, but where we are on the budget is absolutely within the processes that have been part of our constitution since its beginning. “The governor has the right to veto, period.”

    UPDATE 5:47 pm: Excellent speeches by Delegates Surovell, Sickles and Toscano, explaining very clearly why Gov. McAuliffe’s vetoes ARE constitutional, and also urging that House Republicans don’t pull a parliamentary maneuver to avoid putting Gov. McAuliffe’s vetoes to a vote. Del. @Lopez4VA tweets, “Strong comments on the floor today from @MarkSicklesVA, @ssurovell, and @deltoscano.  Making @vademocrats proud!!” @NARALVirginia tweets, “Del. Toscano: ‘We deserve the right to vote [on Gov’s vetoes]…do not use a parliamentary procedure to deny that right'”  Del. Tim Hugo (R) calls what Gov. McAuliffe did a “dangerous precedent,” and that “we need to protect the prerogatives of this body.” Del. Hugo rips Gov. McAuliffe for his harsh language against Republicans on Friday. Hugo says several members of the Republican caucus served in the military, and it was wrong. for Gov. McAuliffe to call them “cowards.” Hugo asks, does Terry McAuliffe want to be the head of a political party or governor of Virginia like Thomas Jefferson.

    UPDATE 5:15 pm: LOL, Del. Kirkland Cox (R) is trying to argue that Republicans are the “party of ideas,” not the “party of no.” What. Ever. Cox also claims that House Republicans are “compassionate people” who really care about the people of Virginia. Apparently that was said in all seriousness.

    UPDATE 5:13 pm: Great job by Del. Joe Morrissey in calling out House Speaker Bill Howell’s struggles with fact, let’s just put it that way, and his logical inconsistency. So typical that Howell dismissed Morrissey’s argument with a condescending, “I’ll explain it to you later” comment. Pathetic.  Also, @VANewMajority tweets, “Thank you Del @RobKrupicka for recognizing hard work of everyone fighting to #closethegap. It’s time!”

    UPDATE 5:06 pm:  ‏@NARALVirginia tweets, “We have a huge crowd in the House gallery ready to urge legislators to #CloseTheGap!” Also, the House is now in session. ‏@MarkKeam tweets, “It’s Medicaid Monday in Richmond. House convened. Expecting heated debate on whether certain vetoes are appropriate.” @ProgressVA  tweets, “The @VaHouse is in session to consider @GovernorVA’s vetoes. We’re in the gallery w/ 30 folks to tell @SpeakerHowell to #ClosetheGap”

    • Dan Sullivan

      The Governor has the authority not the right to veto.

    • OrangeDem

      Almost like the Republicans in the House are so embarrassed by their stance they are purposefully avoiding local news coverage and any reporting from papers with early print deadline.

      Like thieves in the night.

    • From Progress VA:

      Richmond, VA – Over 30 advocates for closing the coverage gap gathered in the House gallery this evening to witness the House turn their backs on uninsured Virginians. When the House refused to take any further action on measures regarding Medicaid Expansion, advocates in the gallery rose and turned their backs on the legislature, a silent protest for the 400,000 Virginians in the coverage gap the House continues to ignore.

      A week ago, the House threatened to block the budget unless the Senate attached an ideological amendment designed to stymie health care for low income Virginians. This evening, Speaker Howell circumvented the legislative process and refused to allow the House to consider the Governor’s vetoes relating to Medicaid and expansion, setting up a courtroom showdown.

      Monday’s legislative inaction was the latest in along string of refusals by the House to engage in a serious policy discussion on closing the coverage gap. The House has rejected compromise after compromise, holding up the the state budget with their refusal to engage in any negotiation.

    • Political gamemanship continues while Virginians remain uninsured

      RICHMOND, VA – In a stunning lack of compassion for hardworking Virginians with no access to healthcare, Speaker of the House William Howell once again blocked efforts by Governor McAuliffe to prevent 400,000 hardworking Virginians from accessing affordable health care through Medicaid.

      “In a callous session which largely ignored the hardships of the 400,000 hardworking Virginians cut off from healthcare without Medicaid expansion, the Virginia House once again has blocked the Governor’s efforts to expand healthcare access”, said Cianti Stewart-Reid, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia. “The cynical maneuvering in the House tonight represents Virginia politics at its worst, leaving hardworking Virginians to continue suffering even when federal dollars are available for their healthcare access.”

      Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia (PPAV) will continue its rigorous advocacy for healthcare for all, including Medicaid expansion.  PPAV is leading the cause and fight for the quality health care women and their families deserve. Virginia women and families need more access to health care, not less.

    • Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement this evening after the General Assembly failed to override any of his line item vetoes to the 2015-2016 biennial budget:

      “I am pleased that the General Assembly upheld six of the eight vetoes that I applied to the budget without controversy.

      “With respect to the Speaker’s ruling on my veto of the Stanley floor amendment, I am continually surprised and disappointed by the lengths to which Republicans in the House of Delegates will go to prevent their own constituents from getting access to health care. Instead of putting all of my vetoes through the process prescribed by the Constitution of Virginia, House Republicans robbed the voters of their voice by using a procedural gimmick to obstruct the normal legislative process where this veto was concerned. If my veto was as objectionable as House leadership claimed, they should not have had any difficulty overriding it in both chambers. Instead, the Speaker elected to exercise powers that the Constitution of Virginia reserves solely for members of the Judicial Branch.

      “As my team and I evaluate the House’s failure to override my veto, I remain focused on expanding access to health care for Virginia residents, and I intend to move forward on that goal as I have promised. Virginians elect their leaders to act in their best interests, not to bog good public policy down in parliamentary gimmicks.

      “With respect to the his ruling on the judges veto, Speaker Howell once again resorted to procedural tricks in order to prevent the representatives of the people of Virginia from voting on the vetoes that I lawfully submitted to the General Assembly. I have no objection to the General Assembly’s authority to appoint these judges while in session; my veto was aimed at defending the powers of the Governor against an unconstitutional overreach by the legislature. It is unfortunate that the Speaker elected to cast these judicial slots into unnecessary uncertainty, particularly after I proposed a straightforward legislative remedy this afternoon.  My team and I will evaluate the Speaker’s ruling on this veto and I will take the actions I deem best for the people who elected me to serve.”

    • DEMOCRATS CONDEMN SPEAKER HOWELL’S COVERAGE GAP DECREE

      Speaker Howell uses parliamentary tricks to deny 400,000 Virginians health care

      RICHMOND – This evening, Senate Democrats criticized Speaker Howell’s ruling that Gov. McAuliffe’s line-item veto of the Stanley amendment was out of order.

      The Stanley amendment makes it impossible for Virginia to close the coverage gap without a vote by the full General Assembly. By ruling the governor’s veto out of order, the Speaker denied it an up-or-down vote in the legislature.

      Said Caucus Chair Sen. Donald McEachin (D – Henrico), “Speaker Howell’s transparently partisan decree means legislators never even got to vote on Gov. McAuliffe’s veto. Instead of letting legislators do their job, he took matters into his own hands and prevented the fair debate that Virginians expect and deserve. This is not the Virginia way – it’s the kind of hyper-partisan obstruction that voters expect from Washington. All Virginians deserve better – especially the countless uninsured families whom House Republicans refuse to help.”

      Said Democratic Leader Sen. Dick Saslaw (D – Fairfax), “There are many Republican governors who are expanding Medicaid, but once again, the obstinacy of House Republicans means that up to 400,000 uninsured Virginians – most from working families – still don’t have access to quality, affordable health care. It’s unfortunate that House Republicans can’t acknowledge that people need health care. The House of Delegates sees nothing wrong with taxing Virginians twice by refusing to bring back the tax dollars that we’ve already sent to Washington.”

    • GBrandon

      a couple of Northern Virginia Democratic candidates for Delegate had more financial support last year from the Democratic House Caucus, maybe the House Republicans wouldn’t be in the position to override the Governor’s veto.

      (Sorry, I had to get that out of my system; it had been building up since last time I bitched about the subject.)

    • pvogel