Looks like Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is looking for ways to tell the Republican-controlled General Assembly to go screw itself while bypassing the legislature to implement his controversial Medicaid expansion plan that has brought state government to a virtual halt.
McAuliffe has fellow Democrat and Attorney General Mark Herring researching whether or not he can ignore the General Assembly and implement expansion of health care coverage for the poor, The Washington Post reported late Thursday night.
Such a move would allow Virginia to use Medicaid as a key component for implementing the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.
A stalemate to McAuliffe’s desires has brought Virginia’s budget considerations to a halt and thrown financial planning for governments statewide into chaos. Floyd County’s school system, already hit by a rejection of its request for a $2.2 million budget increase for the new fiscal year that begins July 1, is looking at staff cuts, program eliminations and perhaps even closing of an elementary school because of the budget morass.
McAuliffe’s plans, if he finds a way to implement them, raise constitutional questions and a certain legal fight with Republicans who control the legislature and oppose any and all things with Obama’s name or fingerprints on them.
Democrats as well worry that McAuliffe, in his first job as an elected official, is overstepping his authority by even attempting such a move.
And legal scholars agree.
“I don’t know what the legal theory would be, frankly,” University of Virginia scholar Dick Howard told The Washington Post. Howard drafted the revamped Virginia Constitution that was implemented in 1971.
Ironically, Democrat McAuliffe may be following the lead of Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich, who used an “administrative board” to bypass a reluctant legislature on the Medicare issue.
Publicly, McAuliffe says, “I want to get this done legislatively.”
Privately, sources in Richmond say, the governor has said of the legislature: “Screw ’em. We’ll get it done without them.”