1 Month after Regular Session, Still no Budget for VA - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

1 Month after Regular Session, Still no Budget for VA

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The partisan bickering continues in Richmond as state legislators argue about the Virginia budget. The Democratic Senate has one position, the Republican House another, and a compromise still seems out of reach.

The general consensus on Capitol Hill is that nothing has changed since a month ago when lawmakers adjourned the regular session without a budget. They might actually be further from a deal.

“It's kind of like moving the football. Every time we try to kick it, Lucy picks the ball up,” said 40th District Delegate Tim Hugo (R).

Virginia lawmakers are still at an impasse over the state's two-year $97 billion budget. Senate lawmakers passed a budget Tuesday afternoon, including a private option plan to expand healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Hours later, the House smacked it down.

“The intention of the Senate is just to stall,” said House Speaker William Howell (R) 28th District.

“They got the chutzpah to accuse us of wanting to shut down government?” said 35th District Senator Dick Saslaw (D).

One thing both sides do have in common in this belabored debate is that they both think they're winning.

Democrats point to leaders in business and healthcare backing their push for expansion.

“No, we're not losing; we're winning this thing. Who are they down to, huh? The Cato Institute? Rush Limbaugh? Give me a damn break,” Saslaw said.

Republicans, meanwhile, say they have the momentum, with 85 localities and constitutional officers backing their bid to consider healthcare and the budget separately.

“We clearly see when we go home people want to decouple, they don't like Medicaid expansion,” said 66th District Delegate Kirk Cox (R).

The full House and Senate are not expected to return again until next week, or possibly even the week after for the reconvened session beginning April 23 – pushing things that much closer to the deadline, June 30, to get a deal done.

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