RICHMOND (WRIC) – It
appears lawmakers are headed for a showdown over the budget but could it lead
to a state shutdown.
It's coming down to the
wire for lawmakers to pass a budget, but one major sticking point remains,
whether to expand Medicaid in the state and accept millions in federal dollars. House Republicans have been against the plan from the start, while Senate Democrats say the state loses money every day it doesn't expand.
“Obviously this is a huge
issue,” says Sen. Donald McEachin. “It stops the bleeding of us
losing $5 million a day.”
No budget means no money
for localities including schools and law enforcement. McEachin says he's
hopeful the house will come around but the GOP decided they will put the idea
of expanding to a vote Thursday, where it is expected to be overwhelmingly
House Majority Leader Kirk Cox says he doesn't want to work past the session to get a budget done, which
is why they plan on rejecting expansion now.
“I think it will send a
very strong message,” he says. “The vote will say that the House is adamantly
opposed to using the budget on a plan that's very frankly not very well thought
out. Let's go ahead and bring it to a head right now. We need to finish on time.
That's what we're here to do.”
It's been years since the
state was close to a shutdown, passing a budget in late June 2006 when asked if
that could happen this year.
While democrats say the
state is losing money, republicans say expansion could cost taxpayers hundreds
of millions if the federal government ever fails to provide money.
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