WASHINGTON -- A Virginia state budget deal for 2015 and 2016 has passed, but you'd hardly know it by the wrangling that went on in Richmond Monday night.
House Speaker Bill Howell tossed out two of Governor Terry McAuliffe's line-item budget vetoes, including one of an item that made it nearly impossible for him to expand Medicaid in the state without legislative approval, declaring them out of order because they only vetoed parts of budget items.
The move means it will be tough for McAuliffe to expand Medicaid, one of his legislative priorities during his election campaign and since he has taken office.
The $96 billion budget averts a state government shutdown, which was looming July 1 if no deal had been struck.
In a statement, McAuliffe accused the Speaker of using a "procedural gimmick" by declaring the vetoes out of order rather than trying to override them in the usual manner. He added that "I am continually surprised and disappointed by the lengths to which Republicans in the House of Delegates will go to prevent their own constituents from getting access to health care" and that he remains focused on doing that.
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