While the staggering amount of double standards emanating from the Left long since ceased to amaze me, I couldn't help but laugh at loud at Senator Donald McEachin's (D-9, Henrico) floor speech on Obamacare expansion yesterday. He blasted House Republicans for stalling the budget process and potentially sending this year's session into overtime or a special session, the latter of which Democrats vehemently object to. That is, rhetorically. In fact, General Assembly Democrats gladly will go into special session and act as if it's a concession to House Republicans, who oppose the Senate Democrats' proposal to expand Obamacare through the state budget. That's because state law prohibits lawmakers from raising campaign money while in session. Calling quits on the regular 2014 session and reconvening for a special budget session, allows the fundraising appeals to commence. Check your spam filters and bulk mail.
But that's not the biggest McEachin hypocrisy. He sarcastically scolded Republicans, saying that the state budget "isn't a term paper," that "there are snow days and no extensions," and said its due on its deadline of March 8. No questions asked . . . and there were none. But I'll ask them.
For starters, Senator, didn't you and your 19 Democrat colleagues vote en bloc for weeks and weeks well into and beyond the 2012 session's deadline to bottle up the budget process, since the lieutenant governor cannot break ties on the budget? That answer would be yes, and in a way that ended the budget standoff only a Hollywood producer would believe (click here to go down memory lane).
Okay, so I only have that one question. I think that's enough.
But not only does the senator apparently suffer from a memory lapse, he is fundamentally wrong on so many facets of the budget debate. First, Medicaid (Obamacare expansion), is not part of the appropriations process, therefore, should not be part of the budget bill. It is federal dollars and spent separately. It is not money raised from state taxes; it is money from the federal government for a specific program and, therefore, cannot be appropriated as tax money is for education or police, for example. Further, the language inserted in the Senate budget is stand alone language, appropriate only for a separate bill creating a new program.
Secondly, last year, the two chambers agreed that it would not be a part of this year's budget. As part of that deal, the General Assembly created the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission to determine which Medicaid reforms to pursue and new ways of securing health care for the poor. Only after its recommendations would Obamacare expansion be considered. Senate Democrats also reject the House Republican proposal for a first-time outside audit of Medicaid, a program with a history of abuse and mismanagement.
It's also funny that the Democrats are concerned with the 400,000 new people Medicaid/Obamacare expansion would cover in Virginia, all well over 100 percent of the poverty line, but not concerned by the five million people nationally who have lost their medical insurance because of Obamacare. How many of those live in Virginia?
Senator McEachin is correct about one thing: It's not a term paper, it's a budget for eight million people, and there is a deadline. But he'd rather blame Republicans for something they haven't done but which his side gladly did in 2012 and are preparing to do again.
Billions and billions. That's what Senate Democrats are trying to force House Republicans into spending on Obamacare expansion in Virginia.