Budget Deal Likely Friday, Vote Expected Saturday

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A deal appears eminent on second-year revisions to Virginia's two-year, $88 billion budget provided negotiators can resolve differences over the pace for reforming and expanding Medicaid.

Senior House and Senate budget writers expected a deal as early as Friday morning, setting up a final Saturday vote that would allow the 2013 General Assembly to adjourn on time.

The obstacle for the six delegates and six senators reconciling differences between House and Senate versions of the budget was the pace of reforming and expanding Medicaid. The Senate authorizes expanding Medicaid to 400,000 additional uninsured Virginians just over the poverty level. The House takes a slower approach.

Gov. Bob McDonnell warned lawmakers Wednesday not to approve expansion unless drastic cost-cutting and efficiency reforms are achieved first at the federal and state levels.

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