tinyfav.com March 17, 2018

Virginia lawmakers have budget to finalize as session draws to a close

11 March 2018, 01:35 | Myrtle Vega

Time is ticking on Medicaid expansion

Which health bills will become law

"A trashy piece of a news release that is completely destroying what we are trying to do", he added, noting that all 40 Senators, some of whom had to get past their own reservations about the best step forward, agreed to ask Gov. Ralph Northam to call a special session.

The special session could still lead to the same House and Senate conferees having to sit down and work out a deal, but would first provide another opportunity for floor votes on budget amendments in each body.

Since gaveling in January 10, lawmakers have gone over thousands of bills. The House version has significantly more money for public education and gives raises to state employees, something the Senate version does not. He had planned to amend it with a substitute bill to carry out Medicaid expansion, as proposed in the House budget, as a way to allow Senate Republicans to vote on the issue outside of the budget.

Jones dismissed questions about a potential state government shutdown as premature, with the current budget in effect until June 30 and new two-year cycle beginning on July 1.

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Then, the Senate had proposed Marketplace Virginia as a private insurance approach to using federal dollars under the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid coverage for hundreds of thousands of uninsured Virginians. Lawmakers are set to leave the capital Saturday without passing a state budget because they can't agree on Medicaid expansion. The Senate did not.

If there is not a consensus by Saturday, lawmakers will have to continue working toward a compromise - past their March 10 deadline. The governor is able to do that when it is deemed necessary or advisable, and must do so when petitioned by two-thirds of the members of both chambers.

Supporters had argued the proposal would be good for low-income people because it would get them into the workforce.

Jones said Thursday that he will instead allow Dunnavant's bill to die without action in the House, which must complete action on all bills by midnight under the procedural resolution for the assembly session that began January 10.

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