Richmond, Va, 21 February 2012: Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today released a letter he sent to Senate Democratic Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) and Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico). The letter was sent in response to their letter of Friday, February 17, detailing the demands of the Senate Democratic Caucus for passage of a Senate Budget.
February 20, 2012
The Honorable Richard L. Saslaw
The Honorable A. Donald McEachin
General Assembly Building
Richmond, VA 23219
VIA HAND DELIVERY
Dear Dick and Don:
I genuinely thank you for your letter of Friday, February 17, 2012, which was hand delivered after the adjournment of the session and after most Senators had left for the weekend.
For weeks, Senator Stosch and I have been asking what budget “policy” sensitivities the Democratic Caucus had so we could collaboratively develop a biennial budget that would enjoy bipartisan support in advance of yesterday’s meeting of the Committee on Finance. I think you will agree that, throughout the subcommittee process, we have demonstrated extraordinary deference to Democratic preferences, which are too many to enumerate here.
In your joint letter to the Governor of last Wednesday, you articulated that “our concerns about the budget are not partisan, but substantive.” Particularly in light of that assertion, it was disheartening to read your letter and see there were absolutely no policy concerns expressed, only raw partisan, political objectives having absolutely nothing to do with the budget. Intellectually, and as a good steward of the Commonwealth, I cannot link the budget to partisan, political pressures.
The passage of a Senate budget should be inoculated from your wholly unrelated suggestion to reorganize committees. I can only view a negative vote against the Senate budget as deliberate obstructionist behavior, inflicting enormous financial uncertainty and anxiety on the very Virginians you and your Democratic colleagues purportedly want to help in this biennium budget. To hold Virginians hostage over bruised political egos is disingenuous and an unflattering reflection of our legislative process.
I sincerely hope that over the coming days we can work together on the policy – not political – considerations that will allow us to pass a new biennial budget.
With kindest regards, I remain
Very truly yours,
Thomas K. Norment, Jr.