Lawmakers Recess Without Medicaid, Budget Deal
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[March 27, 2014]
By Gary Robertson
RICHMOND, Virginia (Reuters) — Virginia's
legislature has recessed without reaching agreement with Democratic
Governor Terry McAuliffe over a budget or Medicaid expansion.
McAuliffe, a former Democratic Party fundraiser, and the
Republican-dominated House of Delegates are deadlocked over a
two-year pilot expansion of Medicaid, the federal healthcare program
for the poor the governor has proposed.
House lawmakers meeting in a two-day special session defeated
McAuliffe's proposed $96 billion two-year budget late on Tuesday.
The House then passed its own version of the budget without Medicaid
expansion, seen as a priority for the governor, before adjourning.
The Democratic-controlled state Senate will reconvene April 7 to
take up the budget fight anew. A budget must be approved by June 30
or risk state operations starting to shut down.
Republicans are asking McAuliffe to deal with the budget and
Medicaid in separate sessions.
"We would be more than happy to debate Medicaid in a special
session," said Kirk Cox, Republican House majority leader. "I think
is afraid he loses all his leverage without the budget."
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McAuliffe, who made Medicaid expansion the centerpiece of his
gubernatorial campaign last year, has not responded to the rebuff.
But he has said that accepting $2 billion in federal funds to expand
Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act would release money that
could be used to create jobs, raise state salaries, bolster pensions
and implement health reforms.
(Editing by Ian Simpson and Gunna Dickson)
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