U.S. Senator Mark Warner is speaking out on the heels of the budget battle in Virginia. Friday, Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed part of a roughly $96 billion two-year budget that is aimed at ensuring the Democratic governor cannot expand Medicaid without legislative approval.
Warner was in Charlottesville Friday to share his thoughts with people at the University of Virginia. Two Senator Warners were actually in town Friday. Mark, the current senator running for re-election, and John, the man he replaced in 2009.
They debated in front of a crowd at UVA's Nau Hall about a number of issues. Afterwards, NBC29’s Sean Cudahy caught up with Senator Mark Warner and asked him what he thought about the state budget battle.
“If the House in particular had a plan or a way to reform Medicaid, that would have been fair, that would have been the Virginia way,” said Warner.
Warner spoke about the climate in Richmond and how it is more polarized than it was when he was governor a decade ago.
“Every issue gets elevated to the ultimate. When every issue says if I don't get 100 percent of what I want I’m going to stop the operation or shut down the government,” said Warner.
Warner discussed the big issues with the man he replaced in Congress, and the man who shares his last name - former Republican Senator John warner.
Friday’s discussion was moderated by Director of UVA Center for Politics Larry Sabato, who also weighed in on the budget battle. Sabato says the good news is there won’t be a state shutdown
“The vast majority of the budget's been signed. The bad news is that the controversy's going to continue,” said Sabato.
Now lawmakers have to look ahead to 2015 and the elections this fall.
“It's not at all clear that the governor and legislature will be able to work together at least until 2015 when we find out whether Democrats or Republicans will control the state Senate,” said Sabato. “That's the next significant moment, another election. We'll have pretty severe gridlock until 2015.”
Meanwhile, Warner has a challenge of his own. He's looking to make sure people get out and vote in his race against Republican candidate Ed Gillespie.
Most major polls that have been done for the U.S. Senate race in Virginia have Warner leading Gillespie by a pretty significant margin - more than 10 points in some cases.
Bipartisanship was also a big part of Friday’s event. John Warner is endorsing Mark Warner in his upcoming Senate race.
Sen. Mark Warner Speaks Out on VA Budget BattleMore>>
Sean Cudahy joined the NBC29 news team as a general assignment reporter in April 2014. Full Story
Sean Cudahy joined the NBC29 news team as a general assignment reporter in April 2014. Sean returns to Charlottesville after four years at American University in Washington, D.C., but central Virginia is his home. He grew up in Albemarle County, graduating from Albemarle High School in 2010. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story
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