By now you've read the headlines: House and Senate Republicans united to pass a budget that addresses Virginia's $1.5 billion revenue shortfall and does not include Obamacare's Medicaid expansion.
As I mentioned in my previous email, the shortfall was filled partially by accessing the Commonwealth's rainy day fund. The balance was filled by cutting spending.
Despite these cuts, we were able to protect funding for K-12 education, mental health reforms, and investments in the Virginia Retirement System. For detailed information about the budget, please click HERE.
At no point did the budget include language that would have allowed the Governor to expand Medicaid without the approval of the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission. However, because reports suggested that Governor McAuliffe may act on his own to expand Medicaid, the General Assembly added a clarifying section that unequivocally prohibits the expansion of Medicaid without the approval of the legislature.
Now that the budget has passed, I am encouraging Governor McAuliffe to sign it without any substantial amendments and without inserting Medicaid expansion. We cannot afford further delays.
Thank you to all who took the time to contact me, call the Governor's office, and sign the petition urging the Governor to pass a budget. Although I expect the Governor and the Democrats will offer a proposal to expand Medicaid, I am pleased that we passed a clean budget that includes no provision for expansion. Once the budget is signed, we can return to Richmond to debate Obamacare's Medicaid expansion and its impact on the Commonwealth.