RICHMOND, Va. (AP) The Virginia House of Delegates has thrown out two of Gov. Terry McAuliffe's line-item budget vetoes.
House Speaker William J. Howell ruled Monday that McAuliffe's vetoes were outside the scope of the governor's authority.
The move effectively overrides the vetoes without the House having to vote on them.
One veto Howell tossed out was of a Republican-backed amendment aimed at preventing him from expanding Medicaid without legislative approval. The House GOP majority blocked McAuliffe's top legislative priority, leading to a protracted budget stalemate that threatened to shut down government.
Howell also ruled a veto concerning funding for new state judgeships out of order.
The House voted 70-27 to override McAuliffe's veto of funding for a new ethics commission. The Senate is set to take up that veto Monday evening.
Statement from Governor Terry McAuliffe:
“I am pleased that the General Assembly upheld six of the eight vetoes that I applied to the budget without controversy.
“With respect to the Speaker’s ruling on my veto of the Stanley floor amendment, I am continually surprised and disappointed by the lengths to which Republicans in the House of Delegates will go to prevent their own constituents from getting access to health care. Instead of putting all of my vetoes through the process prescribed by the Constitution of Virginia, House Republicans robbed the voters of their voice by using a procedural gimmick to obstruct the normal legislative process where this veto was concerned. If my veto was as objectionable as House leadership claimed, they should not have had any difficulty overriding it in both chambers. Instead, the Speaker elected to exercise powers that the Constitution of Virginia reserves solely for members of the Judicial Branch.
“As my team and I evaluate the House’s failure to override my veto, I remain focused on expanding access to health care for Virginia residents, and I intend to move forward on that goal as I have promised. Virginians elect their leaders to act in their best interests, not to bog good public policy down in parliamentary gimmicks.
“With respect to the his ruling on the judges veto, Speaker Howell once again resorted to procedural tricks in order to prevent the representatives of the people of Virginia from voting on the vetoes that I lawfully submitted to the General Assembly. I have no objection to the General Assembly’s authority to appoint these judges while in session; my veto was aimed at defending the powers of the Governor against an unconstitutional overreach by the legislature. It is unfortunate that the Speaker elected to cast these judicial slots into unnecessary uncertainty, particularly after I proposed a straightforward legislative remedy this afternoon. My team and I will evaluate the Speaker’s ruling on this veto and I will take the actions I deem best for the people who elected me to serve.”