Lawmakers talk I-81 and Medicaid in the Valley as budget showdown looms

Published: Apr. 10, 2018 at 12:15 PM EDT
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Senator Mark Obenshain (R-VA 26th District) and Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-VA 15th District) visited Shenandoah County Tuesday to talk with people in the business community, covering major issues like Medicaid expansion and improvements to Interstate 81.

The two lawmakers visited as a budget showdown looms in Richmond. State leaders have yet to agree on a budget. At the center of the disagreement is

for nearly 400,000 low-income adults. Some Republicans in the House say they would vote for expansion if there are work requirements for some recipients.

"We've gotta reduce the pressure on people who are paying insurance premiums and are suffering with high deductibles and there's nothing about expanding Medicaid by four or 500,000 people that's going to do that," said Obenshain.

"I remain steadfastly opposed to any form of Medicaid expansion, precisely because of the detriment it represents to other parts of our state budget and growing an already unwieldy government program is not something I went to Richmond to do," said Gilbert.

Both also agreed something needs to be done about traffic and safety on Interstate 81, looking toward a bi-partisan effort that will consider tolls for passing through traffic as a possible funding solution for improvements.

A proposal to add a fuel tax on distributors in western Virginia was tabled to 2019.

The General Assembly meets Wednesday for a special session in Richmond.