GOP House leaders request special session on Medicaid expansion
Republican leaders in the Virginia House of Delegates have proposed a special legislative session to address the debate on Medicaid expansion just three days before the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn.
The House and Senate are less than one-tenth of one percent (or $26 million) apart from compromising on a two-year, $96 billion state budget agreement, but GOP leadership reinforced its position Tuesday that Medicaid Expansion does not belong in the budget bill.
Majority Leader Kirkland Cox, R-Colonial Heights, said the commonwealth’s local governing bodies need budgeting information by Saturday’s deadline, and urged the General Assembly to pass a clean budget and reconvene at a later date to discuss Medicaid Expansion as a separate issue.
“We need a solution at this point, and our solution is to call for a special session,” Cox said. “We (House Republicans) have been clear that (Medicaid Expansion) has no business being a part of this process. Let’s free the hostage (the budget) and do what’s right for our schools, teachers, college students and first responders.”
Meanwhile, Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe publicly has refused to sign a budget bill that does not include some form of Medicaid expansion, and the Democratic Senate has yet to budge on its plan to provide up to 400,000 additional Virginians with health coverage under a private provider known as Marketplace Virginia.
On Tuesday, House Democrats fired back at the Republican proposal for a special session, insisting the idea is a delay tactic and that the GOP is at fault for the government impasse.
“It’s very clear that a number of folks on that (Republican) side of the aisle have just been saying no to basically everything,” House Minority leader David Toscano, D-Charlottesville, said. “’Just say no’ isn’t a policy. (It’s) a recipe for a government shutdown.”
Toscano refused to address Cox by name on the floor and said Democrats wouldn’t consider a special session without assurance the time would be used to work out the details of Marketplace Virginia or some other form of Medicaid expansion.
“We (House Democrats) agree with the gentleman (Cox) from Colonial Heights,” Toscano said in reference to avoiding a government shutdown. “But we can’t leave $1.7 billion on the table. We can’t discuss a budget without including this money.”
As members of both parties continue to point fingers across the aisle, one Republican legislator suggested the GOP has differences within its own caucus.
Delegate Thomas Davis Rust, R-Herndon, said he doesn’t agree with House Republican leadership on all details of potential Medicaid expansion, but Rust did agree the legislature’s top priority should be passing a state budget on time.
“We can’t afford to go home Saturday without a budget,” Rust said. “And I think the fact that the two have been tied together is very detrimental to Virginia.”
Delegate Robert G. Marshall, R-Manassas, went one step further, suggesting that Democratic President Barack Obama is “falsely taking credit” for federal deficit reductions. He said it’s the states like Virginia rejecting Medicaid expansion that are responsible for lowered national deficit projections.
A joint budget conference committee containing six delegates and seven senators has until Saturday to come up with a compromise before the session is extended. If an agreement isn’t finalized by July 1, the state government will shut down until terms can be negotiated.
Henrico's Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is one of only 20 gardens in North America nominated for USA Today’s “10Best Reader’s Choice” contest for Best Public Garden.
The 20 public gardens nominated are:
• Bloedel Reserve, Bainbridge Island, Wash.
• Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn, New York
• Buthcart Gardens, Victoria, B.C.
• Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Ga. > Read more.
Photo by Patty Kruszewski/Henrico Citizen 02/24/2014
The Fifth Annual Henrico Police Athletic League (PAL) Award Banquet, held Feb. 6 at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, honored HPAL’s top volunteers and employees, including Morgan Lewis, Youth of the Year; Dale Alexander, Volunteer of the Year; Lowell Thomas, Employee of the Year, and Victor Williams, Board Member of the Year. Also honored for their support were Jim and Christi Dowd of Richmond BMW and Josh Davis of Henrico County Public Schools Pupil Transportation.
Keynote speaker for the banquet was Tim Hightower, a University of Richmond alumnus and former NFL running back. Hightower was introduced by Billy McMullen, former NFL player and a Henrico PAL board member. > Read more.
The Pocahontas Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Colonists, based in western Henrico, last year donated more than $1.3 million worth of manufacturers coupons to U.S. military personnel overseas. Throughout 2013, members and friends of the chapter clipped 952,349 manufacturers’ coupons valued at $1,350,630, which Program Chairman Carole Featherston shipped to U.S. military bases abroad. Military personnel can use the coupons when shopping in base stores.
The National Society Daughters of American Colonists is a women’s genealogical and patriotic society whose members are descended from a man or woman who rendered civil or military service in any of the American colonies prior to July 4, 1776. > Read more.
If you’re looking for a date night with someone special, Henrico is the place to be! Check out a classic 90s movie, “My Girl,” at Henrico Theatre; Circa, an innovative circus from Australia, will dazzle at the University of Richmond; and celebrate TGIF at Keagan’s Restaurant where the PJ Bottoms Band is performing. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Abstract paintings of Inge Strack (pictured) are on display through March 9 at the Gumenick Family Gallery at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen. Strack, a Chestefield painter of German origin, often paints in bold colors with a deep sense of emotion, focusing on brushstrokes, texture and form to find a balance. Strack’s painting is routed in the European tradition of expressionism but has found its own, unique language in following the American dream.
“I am not attempting to abstract the physical world," she said. "I draw my subject matter from inside of myself hoping to create a constant conversation between the viewer and the painting, especially since abstracts do not seem to answer but ask.” > Read more.
Do you play pickleball? Learn more about this oddly-named but fun-to-play sport tomorrow! Though it’s still pretty chilly outside, you can get a jump start on spring at the Richmond Home and Garden Show or at a workshop on raised bed gardening at Lavender Fields Herb Farm. For all our top picks this weekend in Henrico, click here! > Read more.
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