RICHMOND (WWBT)- After weeks of toxic social issues dominating the headlines, a behind the scenes budget battle has bubbled to the surface, and with it, threatening claims about what it could lead to.
Think back to your high school civics class.
It takes three parts of government to pass legislation: the house, the senate and the governor. Thursday senate democrats made a bold move, voting down the budget, thereby stalling the spending plan. If a compromise is not struck, Virginia's government could be shut down.
It came after a day of rowdy protests, which had nothing to do with budget. Democrats made a tactical move, voting down the senate spending plan.
Afterward, shocked republicans, one by one called the move historic, but not in a good way.
"So it's a sad day for the senate in my judgment," said Sen. Walter Stosch (R-Hanover), the senate republican's chief budget architect.
"To then have them vote against the budget for no justifiable reason is an incredible act of political hypocrisy," said Lt. Governor Bill Bolling (R-Virginia)
Republicans see the move as blatantly political, designed to force the GOP's hand and get them to agree to share power.
That is something Senator Don McEachin (D-Henrico) would not admit directly, but hinted at when he said.
"If the Senate really reflected the will of Virginia's voters we wouldn't see a budget like this."
Meanwhile republicans warned of a worst case scenario, a showdown that would lead to a stalled budget, and eventually a government that can't conduct business.
It is a move budget architect Stosch claims has nothing to do with the way the money is proposed to be spent.
"I don't think there was a single amendment pulled out by someone on the other side of the isle so they obviously support every aspect of this budget," he said.
Meaning both sides are gearing up for a fight that could lead to serious consequences.
So what happens next? Well there are a variety of legislative options but everyone involves the senate democrats willing to vote yes on the budget. That means a deal must be struck, and it will probably be done behind closed doors.
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