Va. barrels into special session after budget impasse

State budget talks break down; special session likely

In a bid for compromise with Gov. Ralph Northam and the almost-even rank of Democrats biting at their heels in the House, Republican lawmakers forged a budget plan for next year that provides for a Medicaid expansion as envisioned in the states by Obamacare.

Arkansas' governor has signed into law legislation to continue the state's Medicaid expansion, which will impose a work requirement on thousands of participants this year.

The budget the House adopted is awash with money for public education, fueled by $371 million in estimated state savings from using enhanced federal Medicaid money for an array of services, such as indigent care at hospitals, local mental health services, and health care for prison inmates.

According to Republican Finance Chair Craig Blair, the budget includes no tax increases and includes an addition 21 million in funding for the PEIA Stability Fund.

Because of the great blue wave of 2017, we now have an essentially divided House of Delegates, barely tipped to Republican control literally by the pulling of a name from a hat in a tied, contested delegate race - hardly a mandate for governing, by any standard. Blair. "This is a historical event".

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"While we made much progress, we're not in a position to get the budget done by Saturday", said Jones, who subsequently informed the full House of the decision to either extend the current session by 30 days or adjourn to reconvene in special session.

But most Republicans in both chambers still oppose Medicaid expansion, and leaders in the state Senate said going home isn't going to change their mind. The House strongly opposed expansion, ultimately defeating the proposal the first of four times during McAuliffe's term before voters last fall slashed Republicans' two-thirds majority to two seats.

If lawmakers do end up passing a budget - but it does not include Medicaid expansion - Northam will likely step in.

Earlier on Thursday, Jones asked the House to not act on Senate Bill 915, proposed by Sen.

The normal General Assembly session is set to end on Saturday.

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