WASHINGTON – Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has just seven days to act on the budget that the General Assembly passed Thursday night.
“He’s going to have to make a political judgment about whether it’s best for him and for the commonwealth to sign this budget under protest,” says Richmond-based political analyst Bob Holsworth.
McAuliffe is not pleased with the spending plan, which includes a provision that would require legislative approval before Medicaid could be expanded, one of the governor’s top policy goals.
With Republicans in control of the General Assembly, that would be a major obstacle to overcome, because the legislature could override a veto from the governor.
“It is really the most crucial choice he is going to make in this first legislative session of his governorship,” says Holsworth, the former director of the Center for Public Policy at Virginia Commonwealth University. “The governor is probably getting the best legal advice he can.”
According to Holsworth, this might be a lose-lose situation for McAuliffe. If he signs the budget, he risks angering his supporters who hope he stands firm on Medicaid.
However, with a veto, Virginia would be without a budget, and the state government could shut down when the new fiscal year begins in July.