Posted by Brandon Jarvis
The Republicans in the Senate are refusing to convene for a special budget session until May 14th. This is keeping the state budget in limbo. The House of Delegates, led by Speaker of the House Kirk Cox, overwhelmingly passed a budget that included Medicaid expansion earlier this month. The expansion would help 400,000 low-income citizens receive healthcare. The costs will mostly be paid for by the federal government.
Senate Majority leader Tommy Norment is being urged by the leaders of his own party to not delay. They want to work and pass this budget that has received bipartisan support. Republican Speaker Kirk Cox expressed his displeasure in Norment’s efforts, “I’m disappointed it’s taking this long to do something that could have been done nearly a month earlier….Local governments, school boards, and national bond rating agencies are expecting us to act, and there’s no reason for delay.”
The Democratic Party of Virginia Chairwoman Susan Swanker also encouraged Norment and the Senate to act on the budget. “I guess Tommy Norment and his Republican senate colleagues have a Spring Break get-away to Cancun planned over the next 3 weeks because I can’t see any other reason they are refusing to meet and pass a budget,” Swecker said. “The budget supported by Governor Northam and a supermajority of the Republican-led House of Delegates increases access to healthcare for 400,000 Virginians while saving the Commonwealth billions. Get to work, Tommy: call for budget meetings now. You are hurting Virginians by playing this pettiest form of politics.”
When the Senate meets on May 14th, they will immediately assign the bill to committee. This is a formality to bring it to the floor for a full chamber vote. Leaders are continuing to work behind the scenes to make sure that the Government does not shutdown on June 30.