VA House shoots down gov's vetoes aimed at enacting Medicaid exp - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

VA House shoots down gov's vetoes aimed at enacting Medicaid expansion

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

The state budget battle continues to escalate with Governor McAuliffe's hopeful Medicaid expansion at the center of the fight. The Virginia House shot down two of the governor's budget vetoes, which would have allowed him to expand Medicaid on his own. House Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, declared Governor McAullife's line-item budget vetoes regarding Medicaid unconstitutional.

Republicans say the governor doesn't have the power to strike just portions of some budget items, without fully nixing the funding too.

"(The governor) clearly only vetoed the language, the condition... So clearly, he should have also vetoed the Medicaid money," said Republican House Majority Leader Delegate Kirk Cox.

That means the General Assembly couldn't vote to override or keep the governor's changes. Republicans believe the vetoes won't go in the final budget, and the governor is stopped from pushing through Medicaid without an entire legislative vote.

Democrats see the move much differently. Democrats insist that the governor's changes are legitimate, and will stand. They believe since no vote was made to override the veto, then the vetoes stay.

"I am one of those people who believes the governor did exactly what the State Constitution allows him to do. And I disagree with some of my colleagues on the other side," said Delegate Joe Morrissey-D, Richmond.

It's a difference of opinion that could end up being decided by a judge, according to political strategist Paul Goldman.

"The governor thinks (his veto) is constitutional... The House Speaker thinks it's unconstitutional. The truth is... only the Supreme Court can really decide," said Goldman.

Another veto concerning funding for new state judgeships was also ruled out of order by the House. The rest of governor's vetoes are all going through.

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