RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The clock is about to run out at the capitol. And with no state budget in place, lawmakers are making plans to return to Richmond.
At the very least, it means Virginia is one step closer to a possible government shutdown. It could also simply mean that lawmakers need just a little extra time to get their work done.
Friday, members of both the House and Senate agreed they need to come back for a "special session" dedicated to the budget. This, after a contentious 60-day session that saw the evenly divided Senate "vote down" the budget twice...and it stands to reason that Senate democrats would "still" vote it down unless there are changes.
Democrats offered amendments this week that would fix some of their "issues" with the budget. But Governor Bob McDonnell was not exactly impressed.
He sent to a letter to leading democrats that said: "I am very disappointed that you have delayed specifying the nature or composition of these issues until now."
In response to that, Democratic Senator Dick Saslaw said: "Most people understand that negotiating an $85 billion budget takes time, sometimes extra time."
So lawmakers will be coming back to Richmond for a special session perhaps by the end of the month. If there's no budget in place by June 30th, it could lead to a partial government shutdown.
A late budget is not all that unusual. This will be the "third time" in the past eight years that state lawmakers have needed a special session to finish their work.