Legislators Hope For The End of Va.'s Budget Battle


Four state leaders who represent parts of the Valley met with business leaders for breakfast Tuesday morning.

Delegate Steve Landes addressing the group at Tuesday morning's breakfast.

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- Four state leaders who represent parts of the Valley met with business leaders for breakfast Tuesday morning.

It's been a busy week for news out of Richmond. On Monday, Phil Puckett, a Democratic senator resigned from his post giving the Republicans the control of both chambers in the General Assembly.

The state Senate is going back into session Wednesday and Republican Senator Emmett Hanger said the Senate Finance Committee will take up the house budget bill, which will not include Medicaid expansion.

The legislators attending Tuesday's breakfast seemed optimistic the General Assembly would soon agree to a budget.

Republican Delegates Tony Wilt, Steve Landes and Todd Gilbert joined Hanger at the breakfast at the Holiday Inn in Harrisonburg.

Wilt, Landes and Gilbert were strong against Medicaid expansion, while Hanger left the door open for future expansion, but said he wanted to move forward on the budget without Medicaid expansion for now.

So has Virginia arrived at the end of the budget standoff?

"The most important and pressing issue right now is that we have to have a balanced budget before we get passed the end of June," said Hanger.

"I don't think the governor has any choice at this point, but to sign the budget and let us be done with it. He has played this very dangerous game of chicken and hostage taking far too long," said Gilbert.

In a statement earlier this week, Governor Terry McAuliffe said he would work to find compromise on a budget that closes the coverage gap and said he was disappointed in the uncertainty people who might benefit from Medicaid expansion are seeing now.


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