WASHINGTON — Virginia’s General Assembly has passed a state budget after adopting an amendment to ensure that Gov. Terry McAuliffe cannot expand Medicaid without legislative approval.
The Republican-backed amendment passed on a 20-19 party-line vote Thursday night after hours of internal GOP wrangling. The Senate then voted 21-18 to pass the budget. The House later Thursday night passed the amended bill 69-31.
Medicaid expansion was the sticking point that prevented the General Assembly from passing a budget in the session that ended in March. McAuliffe and his fellow Democrats favor expansion, while most Republicans oppose it. McAuliffe had not ruled out trying to expand the program by executive action.
In a statement early Friday morning, McAuliffe said, “This evening’s actions demonstrated how deeply committed Republicans in the General Assembly are to denying 400,000 Virginians access to life saving health care.”
He accused Republicans in the Assembly of “violating the terms of the bipartisan agreement they reached in last year’s budget and slammed “representatives who put narrow ideology ahead of what is best for our families, economy and budget.”
He wasn’t specific about what he would do about the budget that has been passed: “When this budget reaches my desk I will evaluate it carefully and take the actions that I deem necessary, but this fight is far from over.”