Delegate Weighs in on House Rejection of Governor’s Budget
Delegate Rob Bell
Republican Delegate Rob Bell is offering his reaction after the House rejected the governor's budget proposal Monday.
The only undecided issue left on the table is Medicaid expansion, and it's got legislators heading back to the drawing board. Bell says with this budget rejection, the House will have to draft an alternative plan, then begin talks with the Senate on a compromise.
Bell thinks the Medicaid debate and the budget should be separate discussions entirely. Democrats argue that by not expanding Medicaid, the state would be leaving federal money on the table. But Bell says the state can't consider expanding the program until it's made cost-efficient. But he says, either way you lean, this isn't an issue that should be included in the budget.
It's got legislators divided, while localities are left guessing how much funding they'll receive.
"We already had a problem that we couldn't afford. This would only make it bigger and make it worse. We're not willing to say that we'll fix it down the road - take the money now, fix it later. We say, this is the point, if we're going to have a program that is sustainable financially, we need to do it right now before we expand it even further,” Bell said.
Bell says it's unlikely Republicans will consider any compromise that includes Medicaid expansion as part of the budget.
State legislators have never shut down the Virginia government before over a budget debate. The deadline for legislators to agree on the two-year state budget is June 30.
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