Home Virginia Politics Virginia Budget Standoff Drags On; Positive Ending Almost Certainly Not in Sight

Virginia Budget Standoff Drags On; Positive Ending Almost Certainly Not in Sight


UPDATE 10:53 pm: Sen. Watkins is right about Medicaid expansion, but he’s making a huge mistake by voting for the Medicaid-expansion-killing amendments, “reluctantly” or not. Very sad. Also, the Puckett resignation just killed Medicaid expansion in Virginia for the next two years. Nice job, traitor.

UPDATE 10:41 pm: Cianti Stewart-Reid ‏tweets, “Two Senate R speakers in a row. Neither offers their sympathies to colleague with cancer. Classy bunch.”

UPDATE 10:32 pm: @ProgressVA tweets, “Norment: I never said a clean budget meant no amendments killing medicaid expansion #hypocrite” Norment says he takes exception to being called immoral. Of course, Norment’s not just immoral, he’s evil.

UPDATE 10:28 pm @TravisFain tweets, “Sen McEachin just told the senate he was diagnosed with rectal cancer in Oct. #vagov insurance saved him.” Wow, Sen. McEachin is speaking really powerfully right now about why 400,000 Virginians need health insurance, how it’s immoral to deny this to them. Anyone with a heart has to be swayed by this…right? Do any Republican Senators have a heart (or a brain)?

UPDATE 10:18 pm: Sen. Barker giving an impassioned speech for why we need to expand Medicaid. The sad, anger-inducing thing is that Republicans apparently don’t give a crap about hurting Virginia’s economy, hundreds of thousands of Virginians, etc. We need to vote these people out of office ASAP!

UPDATE 10:11 pm: Good news via @LVozzella – “Black amendment, intended to block Medicaid commission from expanding program without GA approval, fails 17-22.” And now comes the bad news, as Republicans do everything they can to prevent Medicaid expansion for 400,000 Virginians? Sure seems like it.

UPDATE 10:04: Travis Fain tweets, “to be clear: the Medicaid language Sen. Black is against being “slipped” into the budget was in the McDonnell budget. In January.” Of course, we’re talking about the extremist lunatic Dick Black, so what else would we expect but bloviating bull****?

UPDATE 9:34 pm: Del. Keam has one of the best tweets I’ve seen in a long time – “After hours of tense closed door meetings, it’s clear Virginia Senate is run by a couple of Dicks… Dick Saslaw and Dick Black, that is.” Hahahaha.

UPDATE 9:05 pm: Daily Press reporter TravisFain tweets, “Garrett: idea behind amends is to set out legislative intent ‘in black and white’ for when gov expands and it goes to court.” Fain adds, “Approps chair jones confirms: this amend passes senate, it’s good in the house.”

UPDATE 8:51 pm: Del. Lopez tweets, ” 9 pm. and we’re still waiting on the Senate Republicans – Sen. Black Amdt is ugly.  Restricts any possible Medicaid expansion…” Del. Keam tweets, “There’s more action in Brazil with #WorldCup2014 than on @VAHouseFloor. And #Croatia has a better chance of success than Medicaid expansion.”

UPDATE 8:44 pm: Sen. Chap Petersen tweets, “Lots of drama going on in State Capitol right now.  Will try to expand later tonight when there’s time.”

UPDATE 8:40 pm: Del. Mark Keam tweets, “So, after sitting around for the last 2 hours, the VA House will go into recess until 9:10 pm. And Senate still hasn’t acted on anything…”


Why does this photo not give me a “warm and fuzzy” feeling? Maybe because of reports like this?

Bowing to diminished Democratic power and a looming government shutdown, the Senate Finance Committee voted Thursday for a budget that eliminates Medicaid expansion and almost all new spending.

The nearly unanimous vote was another step toward ending the protracted budget-and-Medicaid standoff that has consumed the state Capitol for most of the year. But it was no guarantee that the fighting was over or that a shutdown would be averted.

The plan still needs approval from the full Senate and House, and then from Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), for there to be a budget in place in time for the start of the new fiscal year July 1.

The Senate was in limbo Thursday night, hours after the chamber had been scheduled to vote on the budget and send it to the House.

Also, I’ve been saying for months now that I didn’t see a successful “end game” for Democrats in all this, as I didn’t believe Republicans would budge (also didn’t see the public rallying behind Medicaid expansion). And that was BEFORE “Benedict Puckett” upped and quit the Senate, throwing away Democrats’ hard-earned control of that body. So now what? Probably a lot of nasty budget cuts like these, combined with no Medicaid expansion, combined with both houses of the General Assembly under Republican control. Other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln? 🙁

  • Dick Black in the SENATE? I mean, other than they’ve goth insane extremists?

  • Dan Sullivan

    Almost all local jurisdictions and school districts have already adopted their budgets based upon the previous Republican math.

    All of that is out the window.  

  • pvogel

    The Va  GOp  is  trying to      restrict  and turn back  what the  malority voted  for.        They will    see soon      that   you just dont do this

  • From ProgressVA:

    The Virginia GOP revealed tonight that their repeated calls for a “clean” budget were disingenuous at best and an outright deception at worst. Days after engineering the resignation of a State Senator in order to grab control of the upper chamber, Republicans abandoned their oft-cited call for a “clean” budget and instead overtly threatened to torpedo the state budget unless the General Assembly agreed to legislation prohibiting future Medicaid expansion.

    “Virginia Republicans finally revelaed today that they’ve been lying to their constituents for months about their wish for a clean budget,” said ProgressVA executive director Anna Scholl. “Offered a so-called clean budget without a provision for closing the coverage gap for 400,000 Virginians, Republicans reneged on supporting the budget unless their demands for additional amendments prohibiting Medicaid expansion were met. The GOP has demonstrated tonight that they have absolutely zero interest in engaging in an honest conversation about how to close the coverage gap and help the thousands of Virginia families who are struggling to make ends meet and cover medical bills. Shame on them.”

  • From DPVA:

    RICHMOND — After a tumultuous week in the Commonwealth, where Virginia Republicans brokered a back room deal with Senator Phil Puckett, claiming they’d line his pocket in exchange for his seat, Virginia Republicans voted to reject health coverage to 400,000 Virginians.

    “Phil Puckett and the newly minted Tea Party-controlled Senate Caucus of Virginia just voted to put their personal priorities ahead of health care access to 400,000 Virginians,” said DPVA Executive Director Robert Dempsey. “This decision and the actions over the last 72 hours just prove that former Virginia Republicans-turned-Tea Party obstructionists will stop at nothing, even shady back room deals, to deny life-saving coverage to Virginians. They have done a disservice to the Commonwealth and have put the economic well being and the health of Virginia citizens in jeopardy.  

    “It is clear that the only thing the Virginia Republican Party stands for is obstructionism and extreme Tea Party ideology, rather than policies that support the advancement of our Commonwealth.”

  • Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement today in response to the General Assembly’s actions on the state budget:

    “This evening’s actions demonstrated how deeply committed Republicans in the General Assembly are to denying 400,000 Virginians access to life saving health care. Instead of moving forward on a plan to close the coverage gap, the Senate of Virginia moved our Commonwealth backward by violating the terms of the bipartisan agreement they reached in last year’s budget.

    “Virginians deserve better than representatives who put narrow ideology ahead of what is best for our families, economy and budget.

    “When this budget reaches my desk I will evaluate it carefully and take the actions that I deem necessary, but this fight is far from over. This is the right thing to do for Virginia, and I will not rest until we get it done.”

  • Richmond, VA – Following the Virginia General Assembly’s passage of a budget, Lieutenant Governor Northam released the following statement:

    “Tonight Virginia legislators rejected an opportunity to move Virginia forward on one of the Commonwealth’s most challenging problems, the lack of health insurance for 400,000 Virginians. Though they fulfilled their responsibility to pass a biennial budget, I am incredibly disappointed and deeply troubled that the adopted budget did not include Marketplace Virginia or any other compromise to close the coverage gap. To date, Virginians have paid over $810 million in federal taxes intended to go towards closing the coverage gap, but we have yet to bring any of that money back to the Commonwealth to provide health care for low-income, uninsured individuals, and to create thousands of good jobs. For months, the Republican leadership has failed to produce alternatives or engage in meaningful debate or compromise on this issue. We simply cannot afford to wait any longer. Policy makers need to find an immediate solution for the more than 400,000 Virginians who still cannot access affordable, quality, healthcare.”

  • Richmond, VA – “Republicans just passed a budget that moves the Commonwealth backwards by denying 400,000 Virginians access to affordable health care, denying teachers and state employees a raise, raids higher education,  reduces funding for core government services, and undermines every inch of progress made by the bipartisan General Assembly last year on closing the coverage gap. This vote was made possible by Senator Phil Puckett’s decision to abandon his constituents and hand control of the State Senate to Republicans,” said Democratic Leader David J. Toscano.  “The Republican Party has once again shown that it cares more about the extreme right Tea Party wing of their caucus than the well being of the 8.1 million Virginians they were elected to serve.”


    RICHMOND–(June 13, 2014) Attorney General Mark R. Herring released the following statement following legislative passage of the Virginia state budget:

    “Unfortunately, the budget passed by the Republican majority in the House and the new Republican majority in the Senate fails to address the needs of Virginians. Refusing to close the coverage gap means refusing to bring Virginia tax dollars back to the Commonwealth, create thousands of jobs, or enjoy the public safety benefits that police chiefs and sheriffs tell me would result from expanded access to mental health and addiction treatment. Addressing the needs of our citizens should be a shared goal, yet ideology and political pressures have proven too great to overcome at this time.”

  • Del. Alfonso Lopez: “I am deeply disappointed with the budget passed by the General Assembly this evening. In addition to turning away billions of dollars in federal funding to expand health care coverage to 400,000 hard working, low-income uninsured Virginians, this budget makes drastic cuts to core services such as affordable housing, public education, first responders, and higher education. I could not in good conscience vote for this budget.”

    Del. Filler-Corn: “House passes budget, party line vote, 69-31, without closing the coverage gap. Headed up 95…..now….midnight…..depressed.”

    Del. Scott Surovell: “Budget passes without Medicaid expansion on mostly party line vote 69-31 – sad day but VA – not much else to say”

    Del. Mark Keam: “There are many reasons why this Republican-drafted budget bill is bad for Virginians. The most egregious is they deleted this language killing Medicaid expansion.

    There is hereby appropriated sum sufficient nongeneral funds for such costs as may be incurred to implement coverage for newly eligible individuals pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1396d(y)(1)[2010] of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

    This omission alone was enough for me to vote NO on final passage. But there are many more cuts to education and other immediate needs of Virginians that made it impossible for me to vote for this bill.”

    Sen. Chap Petersen: “New Senate Majority Rejects Federal Funds

    The Senate Democrats took a body blow on Monday with the sudden resignation of Phil Puckett. The other shoe fell today, Thursday, as the new Republican majority stripped out all references in the State Budget which provided any hope of Medicaid expansion.

    It occurred in a roundabout way.

    An obscure reference in the pending House bill, HB 5002, to “non-general funds” arguably provided the Governor the power to unilaterally expand Medicaid by utilizing $2.2 billion in additional Federal funds while insuring up to 400,000 citizens.

    Before that House bill could be voted upon today, it was pulled from the Senate floor and the Democrats waited for four hours, unaware of the drama.

    When the Republicans reappeared, they had a new amendment in hand that erased that reference and replaced it with a conclusive statement that no funds, Federal or otherwise, could be expended “for newly eligible individuals” in Medicaid.

    Being down one member, the Democrats were powerless to prevent this amendment or the final passage of the budget bill. The bill passed 21-18.

    There was a “consolation prize” which is legislation filed by Senator Hanger (R-Augusta), to limit the ability of the MIRC commission to block Medicaid expansion. Of course, the chances of Hanger’s bill passing the House of Delegates are about the same as Dick Saslaw becoming the next Pope. And it just became moot anyway.

    Of the 21 senators who voted to close the door on Medicaid expansion, all twenty-one of them are on state insurance for them and their loved ones.

    Hypocrisy, thy name is the Virginia General Assembly.”