Va. Governor, black caucus slam 'horrible' tar baby analogy - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Va. Governor, black caucus slam 'horrible' tar baby healthcare analogy


Time is running out to reach a compromise on expanding Medicaid before state government shuts down. 

Governor Terry McAuliffe met with House Republicans late Wednesday to begin the budget discussion, but they found themselves responding to a controversy.  

State Senator Frank Ruff likened Medicaid expansion to a tar baby on Monday. 

"Stop the political rhetoric. Stop the rigid ideology," said Gov. Terry McAuliffe. "Lets come together."

The governor met with Republican leadership for just under an hour Wednesday evening.

"I had no illusions," said Gov. McAuliffe. "I don't think they have moved at all, but at least we're going to have a meeting."

The clock starts ticking Monday. Lawmakers have a July 1st deadline to reach a compromise.

"There are no continuing resolutions in Virginia," said Majority Leader Kirk Cox. "We've really tried to make that point. This is not D.C. The way things work in Virginia is you shut down, and no one wants to see that."

There have been dueling protests at the capitol. Most are calling for some sort of action.

"That's going to be difficult if we don't decouple it," said Delegate Cox. "We really feel strongly that you've inserted something in the budget that has nothing to do with the budget for leverage."

The governor disagrees.

"First it was lets have another audit," said Gov. McAuliffe. "We've had 63 audits. This is just one more moving the goal posts."

Meanwhile, Senator Frank Ruff likened the healthcare expansion to a tar baby.

"Horrible comments," said Gov. McAuliffe. "I know he has apologized, but there is no place in the debate that we are having today to be using that kind of language."

It all harkens back to a painful time in the nation's history.

"Many had been called that as they were lynched on a tree," said Delegate Delores McQuinn who is a member of the Virginia Black Caucus.
"Senator Ruff has been around for a moment or two," said Delegate McQuinn. "So certainly he should have known better as it relates to his analogy."

Delegate Cox said he did not see Ruff's comments. 

"I think that generally whenever you are trying to comment to the press or the public you always want to put your best foot forward," said Delegate Cox. "This is a very big issue. Obviously we want to keep people really focused on this issue."

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