In 2013, the federal government shut down over what was essentially a divide in Washington over Obamacare.
In 2014, the same could happen in Virginia.
On Tuesday, the Democratic-controlled Virginia Senate passed a $96 billion budget that included a provision in which the state would accept federal funds under the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid to thousands of low-income Virginians. That prompted the Republican-controlled House of Delegates to reject the spending plan.
Unless Virginia gets its act together by July 1, the state government could shut down — which is pretty remarkable, given how poorly Virginians viewed the federal government shutdown of 2013 over Obamacare. The commonwealth is home to many federal employees, and the timing of the federal shutdown — just weeks before the gubernatorial race — was largely seen as hurting the Republican candidate, former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. This, despite Cuccinelli rejecting the tactic: “Holding one part of government hostage to another part, I don’t think is a proper way to govern,” he said then.
Now back to current-day Virginia, where both sides don’t show any signs of budging. Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe convened a special session so lawmakers could hammer out a budget. Two weeks later, and they’ve all left Richmond no closer to a deal. Democrats are blaming Republicans, and Republicans are blaming Democrats for their unwillingness to back down from the expansion.
McAuliffe made Medicaid expansion a central tenant of his 2013 campaign, and even back then he was faced with the prospect of a government shutdown over it.
Republicans are now dragging Democratic Sen. Mark Warner into the mix, asking him to reach out to McAuliffe to avoid a shutdown. That’s notable given that Warner, a moderate Democrat, faces reelection later this year. Warner urged the Republicans to work toward a bipartisan solution.
So will the government shut down in Virginia? Well, for all the bragging that state officials tend to do about how they always pass balanced budgets and get their work done, such an impasse isn’t all that rare. For instance, last summer, legislators in Washington states faced the prospect of a shutdown and laying off thousands of employees amid squabbling over taxes and things such as how much fish Washingtonians consume. In 2012, Maryland officials had to come together in a special session and passed a last-minute “doomsday” budget. And so on.
Virginia will eventually come to a resolution — just like the federal government did in the fall of 2013. But will Virginia turn off the lights in the process, just as the federal government did? We’ll just have to wait and see how this episode plays out.
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After spending a few minutes re-litigating the Democratic primary, Donald Trump turned his focus to Obamacare. “I inherited a mess, believe me. We also inherited a failed healthcare law that threatens our medical system with absolute and total catastrophe” he said. “I’ve been watching and nobody says it, but Obamacare doesn’t work.” He finished, "so we're going to repeal and replace Obamacare."
Donald Trump lobbed his first attack at the “dishonest media” about a minute into his speech, saying that the media would not appropriately cover the standing ovation that he received. “We are fighting the fake news,” he said, before doubling down on his previous claim that the press is “the enemy of the people." However, he made a distinction, saying that he doesn't think all media is the enemy, just the "fake news."
"The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN. But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate."