What's the big delay for Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe? For months, the Democrat used Virginia's budget as a hostage to force approval of Medicaid expansion. Now, a budget approved by both the state Senate and House awaits the Governors signature.
So, what could be holding Terry's pen from the budget? Could it be pressure from the Obama administration? Or, is he trying to finagle a way around the budget to expand it on his own accord? These questions seem to be on the fringe, but are they?
A recent turn of events in the Virginia Senate laid the way for the Republicans to take quick action on the budget. The sudden retirement of long term, Democrat State Senator Puckett gave the Republicans just enough control in the Senate to approve a budget that would meet approval with the House of Delegates and scuttle Medicaid expansion.
For months now, Governor McAuliffe has delayed a state budget just to ram through Medicaid expansion. Rather than coming to Richmond to negotiate a budget with the Republicans. Since February, McAuliffe has been trucking around the Commonwealth using Obama-like tactics to stir up the grassroots left to back expansion.
What has been obvious is the inexperience of Terry McAuliffe. For the most part, Virginia's Governors have historically assured a budget is in place, so not to negatively impact municipal budgets or risk shutting down the state government. If a Governor could not get his way with a policy, he would try again the following year. Yet, McAuliffe is clearly in this dogfight for politics, not for the betterment of the Commonwealth.
So, now that there is a budget on his desk, will he sign it? He has until Sunday, June 22 to take action.
Here's the options in front of McAuliffe regarding the budget and Medicaid expansion:
- Sign the budget as is, and call a special session to negotiate expansion this year or wait till the 2015 General Assembly.
- Amend the budget by re-inserting language to approve expansion. This amendment would fail with a final vote by the Virginia Senate and House.
- Ignore the budget, shut down the state government and force a high stakes game of "chicken" with the political right.
- Sign the budget, ignore the language preventing him from unilaterally approving expansion and use a Executive order authorizing expansion. This action would trigger legal action from the Republican legislature and no doubt be settled in the courts.
What can YOU do about this? Call Governor McAuliffe's office and tell him to sign the budget and forget about expansion. Dial (804)786-2211. Or, follow this link to send a email directly to the Governor's office: https://governor.virginia.gov/constituent-services/communicating-with-the-governor/