Well, that was quick. Yesterday, the special session of the General Assembly called by Governor Terry McAuliffe began with passing a state budget the only order of business. But with Washington style politics now the norm in Richmond, what started out with a clear purpose quickly became a bizarre act of political theatre bordering on chaos. The House of Delegates, controlled by Republicans, quickly went to work. In the morning, they received a public briefing on three budgets: one commonly called the "caboose" budget, which amends the current budget through June 30, the end of the fiscal year; a budget for the next biennium introduced by the House itself, and something introduced by Governor McAuliffe that was called a budget but was, in reality, an outline of proposed budget amendments. The House then met briefly to outline its plan of action for the coming days. In the afternoon, the House Appropriations committee adopted the budget it introduced, and rejected the Governor's plan. (In the meantime, both the House and Senate passed the caboose budget, so one thing was accomplished.)
But that's when things started going downhill. As the House was announcing its plan to reconvene the next night (tonight) at 7:30 pm, giving legislators 24 hours to review the budget passed by Appropriations and a few hours to submit their own budget amendments, the Senate, controlled by Democrats, voted to leave town for two weeks!
Of course, the cause of the dissension between the chambers is Governor McAuliffe and Senate Democrats' insistence that the budget include expanding ObamaCare. The Governor's budget proposal yesterday included outright expansion, rejecting even the state Senate's earlier plan of a "marketplace" expansion, which simply uses private insurance (funded by federal tax dollars) rather than Medicaid to expand ObamaCare. The Governor pitched his idea as a two-year "pilot" project, and took what he claims will be $225 million in savings from expansion and quickly dispersed it among Democrat constituencies - the teachers' union and state employees - in the form of pay raises.
House Republicans balked, calling the Governor's plan a "bait-and-switch," adding that a pilot project is a pipe dream because, first, it would require a waiver from the federal government and second, once the program begins there is no way it will end (name the last entitlement program that ended after two years).
In response to the House's action, Democrat Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, in what may be a record for the number of insults an elected officials can hurl at the citizens of his state at one time, called those opposed to the expansion of ObamaCare everything from racists to crazy to insane!
So much for "the Virginia way."
It's really difficult to put into words the audacity of the Governor and Senate to put the economy of Virginia on the brink of disaster out of pure politics. Now more than ever, the legislators who are standing up against the expansion of ObamaCare need to hear from you! The Obama political machine is spending millions to pummel them for doing the right thing. You can't afford to stay silent. Click here to urge your legislators to oppose ObamaCare expansion!