Newsflash:
Rob Zerban VA Medicaid Expansion Medicaid expansion debate delays Va. budget vote
Friday, 13 June 2014 20:20

Medicaid expansion debate delays Va. budget vote

Written by  Associated Press | News Leader

The Senate Finance Committee advanced a new state budget without Medicaid expansion, but the deal fast-tracked by legislative leaders was delayed Thursday night after a Republican senator proposed an amendment aimed at preventing Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe from expanding the program without General Assembly approval.

More than four hours after the scheduled start of a Senate floor session, GOP senators continued to wrangle over Sen. Dick Black's amendment behind closed doors, threatening to derail an agreement legislative leaders reached this week to enact a budget in time to avoid a possible government shutdown after the current budget expires June 30.

Because of lagging revenues, the budget would slash spending by nearly $900 million and require a withdrawal from the state's savings account to close a budget shortfall approaching $1.6 billion. Among the biggest losers are state workers and teachers, who won't get the raises that had been included in earlier versions of the proposed budget.

The General Assembly ended its regular session in March without passing a budget because of a partisan split on Medicaid expansion, McAuliffe's top legislative priority. Republicans who control the House of Delegates oppose expanding the program under President Barack Obama's health care reform law. McAuliffe has not ruled out trying to expand Medicaid by executive fiat, although it is unclear whether he has legal authority to do so.

The budget and Medicaid deadlock appeared to break when Democratic Sen. Phil Puckett resigned Monday, giving Republicans a one-seat advantage in the Senate, but Black's amendment threw what was supposed to be a smooth budget vote into turmoil.

Meantime, Sen. Emmett Hanger of Augusta County, one of a handful of Republicans favoring a modified Medicaid expansion plan emphasizing the use of private insurers, introduced such a bill. House Republicans have agreed to consider the bill later this year, provided it clears the Senate.

"We've always said that whatever form the bill takes, we will give it a fair hearing," said House Majority Leader Kirk Cox of Colonial Heights.

Legislators would have to return to Richmond in a few days to consider any amendments McAuliffe offers on the budget and elect new judges authorized by the spending plan. They could either extend the session to deal with Medicaid or deal with it in a special session.

The judgeships were among the few new spending items that survived a budget-cutting process, which ramped up in recent days as the state's financial picture grew increasingly dim. Senate and House budget negotiators already were looking at a $1.35 billion shortfall before revenue collections declined by 21 percent in May, requiring further belt-tightening.

"You'll find there's enough pain to go around," Senate Finance Committee co-chairman Walter Stosch of Henrico County said before the panel voted without debate to advance the plan.

Rob Jones of the Virginia Education Association lamented the withdrawal of planned teacher raises.

"It's just tough," he said. "I understand the cards they were dealt, but this is just going to put us further behind. Are we doing our best to attract quality teachers to Virginia? No."

The cuts came from increased spending that had been proposed in earlier versions of the budget, essentially keeping funding for most programs at or near current levels. Planned new spending for higher education was cut by $184 million. Public schools took a $166 million hit, although the budget retains additional funding linked to enrollment growth.

Health and human resources spending was trimmed by $80 million. But legislators retained $50 million in additional spending for mental health, which became a priority after state Sen. Creigh Deeds was wounded by a son who then committed suicide hours after being released from an emergency custody order.

Link to original article from the News Leader

Read 688 times Last modified on Friday, 13 June 2014 20:24

ERA Legislation in your State

Unratified states Gold - Ratified States Purple

Latest News from the Zerban Campaign

  • Meet the Man Who's Trying to Force Paul Ryan to Look for a Real Job
    Meet the Man Who's Trying to Force Paul Ryan to Look for a Real Job

    Once again, Koch brothers cash will face off against a people-powered campaign in Wisconsin this November. The race is for a House seat in the first Congressional District, a seat now held by Paul Ryan. His challenger – the first serious challenge he's faced in 14 years in Congress – is Rob Zerban, a restaurateur and County Commissioner.

    Written on Sunday, 02 September 2012 17:49 Read more...
  • The Real Cost of the Ryan Budget
    The Real Cost of the Ryan Budget

    Everywhere I go during my campaign — parades, farmers markets, even the local deli — I keep hearing the same thing from Wisconsin voters. “We need real representation,” they tell me, “representation that’s focused on the people and what we need.”

    Written on Thursday, 09 August 2012 19:51 Read more...
  • Zerban Submits 230% of Required Nomination Signatures Today
    Zerban Submits 230% of Required Nomination Signatures Today

    "The message is clear: Paul Ryan must be held accountable for his 14 years of failed decisions"

    Written on Saturday, 02 June 2012 01:34 Read more...
  • A Man Who Looks Paul Ryan's Storm Dead in the Eye
    A Man Who Looks Paul Ryan's Storm Dead in the Eye

    "He had a minor in economics," Rob Zerban says of his opponent. "What experience does he have to say that he's the great budget oracle?" "The people of the First District can see where that budget impacts their lives. Their bridges start to crumble. We've got 16 bridges on federal highways alone in the district that have been declared structurally deficientm and that doesn't include county and local municipal bridges.

    Written on Friday, 27 April 2012 01:52 Read more...
  • Rob Zerban Has My Vote in 2012
    Rob Zerban Has My Vote in 2012

    Typically during an election cycle, it often comes down to voting for the lesser of two evils. You choose the one who supports the issues most meaningful to you – or at least doesn’t outright defy them. It can be difficult to encounter a candidate who personifies the conviction and integrity you would imagine only in a perfect political world.

    Written on Sunday, 15 April 2012 18:11 Read more...
  • Rob Zerban Statement on Paul Ryan’s FY2013 “Path to Poverty”
    Rob Zerban Statement on Paul Ryan’s FY2013 “Path to Poverty”

    Today, Rob Zerban, Democratic Congressional challenger to Congressman Paul Ryan, released the following statement in response to the introduction of Paul Ryan’s FY2013 “Path to Poverty” budget.

    “In yet another misguided handout to Wall Street at the expense of Main Street, Congressman Paul Ryan today introduced his latest budget plan, designed to place the blame for his 14 years of poor decisions squarely on the backs of our hardworking families.

    Written on Sunday, 15 April 2012 18:07 Read more...
  • WI-01 Rob Zerban Campaign Kickoff Tour Highlights
    WI-01 Rob Zerban Campaign Kickoff Tour Highlights

    When I began this campaign, I made a commitment to serve as a voice of the people- not of corporations.

    I have been putting that into action. In the last few weeks, I have been working overtime to kickoff my campaign with rallies across the district.

    Written on Monday, 12 March 2012 00:00 Read more...
  • John Nichols: How Rob Zerban forced Paul Ryan to defend Internet freedom

    The American Civil Liberties Union, Free Press and the Save the Internet campaign have made it clear that the Stop Online Piracy Act poses a genuine threat to human rights advocacy and whistleblowing on the Web.

    Written on Tuesday, 17 January 2012 00:00 Read more...

Sign the Petition - Sen. Sanders Run as a Democrat in 2016

Button-SandersPetition

Lori Wallach on the TPP from PDA Progressive Roundtable

Progressive Roundtable with Reps. Ellison and Pocan and Lori Wallach on TPP

TPP: The Biggest Threat to the Internet You've Probably Never Heard Of