Local Lawmakers Outraged At Governor's Budget Vetoes
Richmond, VA - A budget showdown in Richmond is looming after Governor Terry McAuliffe signed off on a Republican approved budget with one major exception. The Governor vetoed a line item, Republican law makers hoped would halt Virginia's expansion of Medicaid. In a show of executive power, McAuliffe is trying to prove to Virginia voters that he's staying true to his promise to bring healthcare to all Virginians. "I intend to sign this legislation but not without using my constitutional authority to make several line item vetoes" he said during a press conference Friday. Defying the General Assembly, McAuliffe made sure that the republican approved budget does exactly what it aims not to, "It failed to address healthcare, one of the most pressing issues today for our people and it contained reductions in spending that were much deeper than necessary because the General Assembly refused to accept Medicaid funding" he said. The Governor vetoed the portion of the state's $96 billion budget that blocks Medicaid expansion. He went as far as defunding the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission. "It is increasingly clear to me that the MIRC is merely a sham to pretend that the legislature is actually doing something to help people with healthcare" he said. "What he's telling us is, he doesn't care about the constitution, he's going to try to expend money without the permission of the legislature. That's going to be a problem" said republican State Senator Steve Newman. Republican lawmakers, like Newman, are outraged at the Governor's announcement. "If he presses forward, I think there's going to be a lawsuit and we're really going to be pushed back on the Governor doing what I think the constitution prohibits him from doing" said Newman. Republican resentment spilled over to Twitter Friday as well; Republican State Senator Tom Garrett tweeting "Whatever Governor McAuliffe is smoking should be banned. #readtheconstitution" Nevertheless the Governor committed to expand Medicaid under any means necessary. Lawmakers return to Richmond Monday, where Senator Steve Newman tells me he expects the General Assembly will reject McAuliffe's vetoes and attempt to pass the budget with a two thirds majority, as originally written.