WILLIAMSBURG, VA, 13 APRIL 2018: Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City), Co-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, today issued the following statement regarding today’s actions by the House Appropriations Committee to advance House Bills 5001 and 5002:
“Today’s vote by the House Appropriations Committee is an essential step in advancing the process of resolving the current budget impasse.
“While we would have preferred the Committee introduce a ‘clean’ budget that did not include Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, their actions today are consistent with what Chairman Jones has communicated to us.
“The few changes to the House’s original proposal approved by the Committee today do not narrow the chasm between our respective proposals.
“I continue to believe that the General Assembly is working to craft a budget with incomplete information. An up-to-date and comprehensive revenue reforecast would greatly assist the General Assembly in its efforts to reach an agreement on a fiscally responsible budget based on sustainable revenues.
“Our disagreements with the House’s plan are unchanged. Their proposal to add work requirements in exchange for extending Medicaid benefits to able-bodied adults does not include the funding necessary to implement, administer, or enforce its provisions. That the House plan includes this provision while not requiring it be enacted and effective before expanding Medicaid makes their plan ‘straight’ Medicaid expansion for all practical purposes. The ‘taxpayer safety switch’ they have touted as a reform is unrealistic and was included in all of former Governor McAuliffe’s expansion proposals. Finally, their insistence on using additional federal funding intended for healthcare to unsustainably grow spending on priorities unrelated to healthcare endangers Virginia’s long-term fiscal stability.
“The most expeditious path to completing this process and approving a budget would be for the House to approve a budget based on Virginia’s current revenues, not upon federal funding the White House has targeted for elimination. As this process continues to advance, it is my hope the House will signal their priorities using existing revenues, which is the surest route to shortening – and ending – the current impasse.”