RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) For weeks the state budget talks have been at a stalemate. There have been no major moves since a special session in March; however, that ended with the general assembly deadlocked.
"At this point in time I think we need to acknowledge that time is of the essence," said Sen. Hanger.
Thirty days out from a potential government shutdown, Senator Emmett Hanger has proposed a procedural change that could lead to a deal.
As it stands right now, the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission has to vote to expand Medicaid.
Senator Hanger's proposal first would strip the issue of Medicaid from the budget. Then, the state would expand Medicaid--unless--a majority of commission members voted against the plan.
"It is unacceptable for us not to have a timely, balanced budget, so I was trying to reinforce that the administration, the governor, working with the Senate and the House, we need to make sure that that's the top priority for us," said Sen. Hanger, chairman of Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission.
House Republican leadership responded with a statement that called Sen. Hanger's offer 'productive'. They said they're encouraged about the prospects of agreeing on a budget and ready to take a closer look at the proposal.
House Republican Steve Landes, the commission's vice chair, said the compromise plan is a good first step. He echoed the GOP position that Medicaid should have been separate from the budget all along.
"I think it's a good sign that there is some movement, and there's some possibility we can get the budget accomplished and get it done on time before our deadline," said Landes.
The issue of Medicaid expansion has gridlocked the state capitol in recent weeks. A budget has to be passed by June 30 to avoid a state government shutdown.
As that deadline nears lawmakers said this could be the move that leads to a done deal.
© Copyright 2014 WHSV / Gray Television Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.