Governor open to veto or line item veto

LEESBURG, Va. (WUSA9) -- Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has until Sunday at midnight to either veto or approve a budget the legislature passed last week after months of gridlock.

The budget does not include Medicaid expansion, and McAuliffe has vowed to only sign a budget that includes the new federal healthcare program. WUSA9 caught up with the Governor who spoke to the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce Wednesday.

Flying by helicopter to Leesburg, after a major economic announcement about the largest Chinese investment in Virginia, Governor Terry McAuliffe still seems determined to lasso millions in federal dollars from the Affordable Care Act, despite the General Assembly's move last week.

When WUSA9 asked if a line-item veto is possible, he answered, "Everything's possible."

After a Democratic Senator resigned, control of the Senator flipped to the Republicans, who then wrote in an amendment to the budget that states Medicaid cannot be expanded unless the legislature appropriates money to do so.

"We're talking about forfeiting billions and billions of our taxpayers' dollars. We should bring our money back provide healthcare for 400,000 Virginians. 30,000 news jobs. I mean it's basic common sense," said McAuliffe.

A group of Democrats signed on to a letter asking the Governor to either line-item veto the amendment that prevents expansion, or to veto the budget all together. Delegate Tom Rush, who supports expansion, does not want to see a veto.

"I think that would be a terrible budget. If he vetoes the budget, which I do not think he will do, that literally means June the 30th, we have no money to do the things that letter talks about. Supporting the schools, supporting the hospitals, supporting the prisons. Supporting everything," said Rust.

Delegate Ken plum of Reston signed the letter.

"This is not a balanced budget. It leaves millions of dollars on the table paid by Virginians every day, we could receive. Now approaching $800 million that we could receive for health care. This is not an acceptable budget. It's morally wrong to ignore our neediest Virginians," said Plum.

If Governor McAuliffe signs the budget as is, he still might be able to bring the Affordable Care Act to Virginia. It's possible he could set up a public-private partnership, similar to the way some toll roads have been financed.

"I'm going to make decisions that are in the best interests of the Commonwealth. Smart, business decisions is what I'm going to do," said Governor McAuliffe.

Written by Peggy Fox


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