Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced a special session on April 11 for Virginia lawmakers to come to a budget deal following the General Assembly’s failure to pass a state budget on March 10, according to WHSV. The lawmakers struggled to come to an agreement for the two-year budget primarily because of disagreements on expanding Medicaid to more low-income citizens.
While the House supports this move to provide coverage to 300,000 Virginians, the Senate doesn’t. Although Republicans currently control both chambers of Virginia’s legislature, the budget disagreement came from House Republicans who supported the expansion and Senate Republicans who rejected it.
A similar deadlock over the topic of Medicaid happened in 2014. According to the Associated Press, it took months for the commonwealth to resolve.
Northam called for the special session three days after the 60-day regular session was adjourned. The Governor took office last year after a campaign focused on expanding Medicaid in Virginia, according to the Washington Post.
Other issues addressed over the weekend included gun control, sexual harassment, electric rates, coal ash and campaign finance legislations. Governor Northam said the latter is a top budgetary priority.
Governor Northam plans for a resolution by April 11. However, if legislators can’t pass a two-year budget by July 1, the state government will shut down until a budget is agreed upon.
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