RICHMOND, Va. –Using terms like “Lies”, “Stubborn”, “Unconscionable”, and “Demagoguery”, a stern Governor Terry McAuliffe came out swinging over Republican’s refusal to expand Medicaid in Virginia.
“Providing healthcare is a moral imperative,” says Gov. McAuliffe. ‘Once again the Republican leadership in the house of delegates said, “No”.
McAuliffe announced Friday that he will sign what he calls a “weak” budget passed by the General Assembly on June 12th, but stresses that the commonwealth is losing out on five million federal dollars daily thanks to the GOP turning their back on Medicaid.
“Virginians from every corner know that the lack of healthcare is hurting families. Stunting economic growth,” says McAuliffe.
Just days after the General Assembly passed its budget the Governor slashed many provisions with his red pen, including “MIRC” a commission which aimed to close the healthcare gap. McAuliffe called MIRC a Republican sham.
McAuliffe promises to go it alone on Medicaid.
“Let me be clear I am moving forward to getting healthcare for our Virginia citizens,” says McAuliffe.
Republicans are firing back. Sean Lansing with Americans for Prosperity says McAuliffe is flaunting his authority.
“It sets a terrible, terrible precedent. You’ve seen a constant overreach with the president and now you see the Governor of Virginia act in the same manner,” says Lansing. “He doesn’t care what the General Assembly says. He doesn’t care what the people of Virginia say. He is going to expand Obamacare Medicaid. Even if it means acting like a king.”
Political Analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth says clearly the Republicans will reject McAuliffe’s attempts at expanding Medicaid on his own and will not be surprised if they take him to court.”
“The battle has been drawn and it is becoming the signature battle of the McAuliffe governorship,” says Holsworth. “I think it is going to be very difficult to find common ground on this issue.”
Governor McAuliffe says he will huddle with his team of secretaries this weekend and says Republicans should not be surprised if more vetoes come their way.
“I’ve instructed Secretary Hazel to have a plan on my desk no later than September 1st of this year detailing how we move forward in the face of demagoguery, the lies, the fear that have gripped this debate for far too long.”
Sec. Brown and Sec. Hazel and their teams have been told not to attend or assist in any of the MIRC activities.
McAuliffe also said he would be vetoing an appropriation that will allow Chesterfield County to partner with the city of Petersburg to address challenges confronted by the Petersburg schools. He says it presents a number of legal problems and bad precedence and frankly wasn’t requested by either locality.
The governor will also be vetoing the item that will take $4.4 million from the Federal Action Continuancy Trustfund (FACT ). Some or all of the money will be used to protect military facilities that could face federal cuts.
McAuliffe will be vetoing appropriation for the newly created Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council. The ethics reform bill that was passed by the General Assembly was “weaker than what Virginians deserve.” He said it will be revised in the General Assembly in 2015. He said he and his administration and their family live under a $100 gift ban, others can.
Additionally, he will be vetoing language dealing with asset forfeiture settlements. He said the current language is “half-baked” and needs more work.
“As soon as we receive them, the House will review all of Governor McAuliffe’s vetoes on the budget bill passed by the General Assembly last week,” wrote the House Republican leadership in a media statement. “The Constitution and Supreme Court proscribe specific limits on the Governor’s line-item veto authority. We will review these vetoes to determine if they fall within the narrow scope of that authority, and once that review is complete the House will act accordingly.”
“We are prepared to challenge this blatant executive overreach through all available avenues, including the court system.”
“Some of the other vetoes appear to be petty and politically motivated,” the leadership continued. “Governor McAuliffe signed the bipartisan ethics bill; his decision to veto this funding is counterproductive and unnecessary.”
After five and a half hours of debate last week, the Senate voted to pass the state budget along party lines 21-18, except for Sen. Lynnwood Lewis, the lone Democrat who backed the plan. The House of Delegates voted 69-31 to green light the budget just before midnight.
Officials said the budget answers the $1.5 billion revenue shortfall by cutting spending and utilizing some of the state’s rainy day fund.
The budget was passed after 20 Republican senators voted to include an amendment which would make any efforts to expand Medicaid by Gov. Terry McAuliffe difficult. Nineteen Democrats voted against that revision.
Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said Medicaid expansion will be closed out for two years because of the amendments.