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Gov. McAuliffe Optimistic About Budget Negotiations - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Gov. McAuliffe Optimistic About Budget Negotiations

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RICHMOND, Va (WVIR) -

Little has changed since state lawmakers left Richmond nine days ago. They're still no closer to a budget deal, or a compromise on healthcare expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Now, Governor Terry McAuliffe says it's time to stop playing games.

McAuliffe has been pushing for healthcare expansion since the campaign trail. Recently, he's been back on the road visiting hospitals and clinics, making his case for expansion - but with budget negotiators stuck in gridlock, McAuliffe says he's still optimistic.

Lawmakers knew their break was only temporary, but since they left the state capitol March 8, stuck in stalemate over healthcare expansion and the state budget, conference committee members have not met even once in hopes of getting closer to a deal.

“Hopefully they use this week. I'm disappointed that they didn't do it last week,” said McAuliffe.

McAuliffe isn't giving up hope on a solution. In the past couple of weeks, he's visited a dozen hospitals and clinics, making his case for why the state should expand health coverage to thousands of low-income Virginians.

“Keep the theatrics out of it, keep the partisan ideological politics out of it. Let's make the smart business decision,” said McAuliffe.

But little has changed. House Republicans, who oppose expansion, and Senate leaders, who support it, are dug so far into their positions, some are worried a budget might not get passed at all.

“I'm hoping that this can be resolved in the next couple of weeks. I'm going into this optimistic,” said McAuliffe.

Maybe that optimism will rub off on gridlocked lawmakers when McAuliffe meets with budget conferees next Monday - but it's not likely.

Despite a three-week special session, many say this debate could stretch into the summer. McAuliffe, meanwhile, is unfazed.

“I will have some additions to the budget, and I don't think it needs to take three weeks. Let's try and do it in a week, two weeks,” said McAuliffe.

McAuliffe will visit a few more hospitals this week.

Democrats David Toscano and Creigh Deeds will also host a joint town hall on the budget and healthcare expansion Wednesday evening at Monticello High School.

Office of David Toscano Press Release

Our area legislators will provide an update from the 2014 General Assembly and lead a discussion about the importance of including insurance coverage for Virginians who fall in the gap. Please come to show your support and submit input before they return to Richmond this month for a Special Session on the Commonwealth’s budget. Special guest The Honorable Bill Hazel, Secretary of Health and Human Resources, will be on hand to provide insight on the impact this issue has on all Virginians.

We hope you will join the discussion on Wednesday, March 19 beginning at 6:30 p.m.

To attend this Town Hall, sign up here, or call 434.220.1660434.220.1660 for more information.

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