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Medicaid expansion not a ‘partisan issue,’ McAuliffe says during Loudoun visit

Gov. Terry McAuliffe spoke at a Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce luncheon Wednesday, where he talked about the economy, the state budget and today’s major jobs announcement. Times-Mirror Photo/Trevor Baratko
Gov. Terry McAuliffe dropped into Loudoun Wednesday – literally, he arrived via helicopter – to speak on jobs, transportation, economic development and LGBT rights, but there was no way the rookie governor was getting out of Northern Virginia without touching on the recently-approved state budget that awaits his signature.

Upon arriving at the National Conference Center just outside Leesburg, the Democratic McAuliffe was peppered with questions from the press on what budgetary action he'll take, be it signing the spending plan, vetoing it or leaving it blank, which would eventually enact the proposal.

McAuliffe's answer remained the same as it has been since he received the Medicaid-less budget three days ago: He's weighing his options, he said, and he'll do what's best for the people of Virginia.

A former Democratic National Committee Chairman who is holding his first public office, McAuliffe said he will "have news on the budget in the next couple days."

“Don't worry. Everything will work out,” he said.

Following a three-month budget standoff, Republicans in the General Assembly pushed through and passed a spending plan last week that doesn't include expanding Medicaid to as many as 400,000 uninsured Virginians, something McAuliffe promised he would do during his gubernatorial campaign. McAuliffe vowed he would not sign a budget that doesn't include expansion under the Affordable Care Act, a promise that has largely led to the current predicament.

“This is not a partisan issue,” the governor said at Wednesday's Loudoun Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event. “It's about bringing $26 billion back to the Commonwealth of Virginia” and providing health care to 400,000 Virginians.

The governor has until Sunday to act on the budget.

During his 25 minutes worth of remarks, McAuliffe highlighted his creation of the first-ever state cybersecurity commission, his bipartisan cooperation to reduce Standards of Learning testing, several major jobs announcements and his inaugural executive order, which protected the gay and lesbian community against workforce discrimination.

McAuliffe's visit -- at least his fourth to Loudoun in the past month -- came on a busy day. In Richmond Wednesday morning, the governor announced that Shandong Tranlin Paper Co., a Chinese pulp and paper company, will invest $2 billion in the state over five years, establishing its first U.S. advanced manufacturing operation in Chesterfield County. The investment is expected to create 2,000 new jobs in Virginia by 2020, according to the governor's office.

From the National Conference Center, McAuliffe trekked to Washington to meet privately with White House officials. Virginia is the top recipient of Department of Defense dollars in the nation, and therefore it's essential the governor's administration maintains communications about federal budget activity, the governor said.

About the White House visit, McAuliffe jested, "I'm trying to convince them there's only one state in America that really matters, and that's Virginia. Forget the other 49."

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Here I thought McAuliffe was going to show up in a (My Car) you know the product from Green Tech that he got millions of taxpayer dollars for. Coming in via helicopter who does he think he is Joe Biden. I wonder if these job numbers are from the same fool that said there were 12,000 data center jobs coming to Loudoun? it takes 70 people to run a 5 million square foot facility that means data centers would cover 31 square miles of Loudoun county to employ 12,000 people. Hyperbole on the car front, the data center employment front and you must forgive me if I doubt he knows how to tell the truth any longer. Go kiss the ring in D.C. but wash afterwards.

Oranges you mean the legislature bribed its way clear.

This should not be a partisan issue but it is beacease the republicans don’t want to give any win to the democrats so tens of thousands will suffer.

What do the republican congressmen fear? They gerrymandered their victories; what do they care if they cause the senate and president to be a democrat with their viscous out of step politics.

I see the Governor is wasting taxpayer dollars with his helicopter tours crying an issue that is now DOA. Expanding Medicaid will NOT be part of the budget. If the Governor wants it, he’ll have to fight for expansion on it’s own merits and not try to force it by sneaking it in with parliamentary tactics.

You lost Governor. Deal with it. Virginia is still a Red State. Enjoy your lame duck position for the next 3.5 years.

He tried to out muscle the legislature and was beaten, outfoxed and told to mind his manners. Coming in via a helicopter who does he think he is Joe Biden? Are there cases of workforce discrimination or just bellyaching by sensitive souls. Because I tolerate gays does not give them a right to marry here in Virginia it means I’ll put up with their right to be different. Just make sure if Terry makes a haul from D.C. the taxes are paid on the alcohol! How much has the governor spent on his bar bill?

I guess we will get to see what Gov. McAuliffe is made of.  Does he veto the legislation, or not?  Is he all talk, or not?  You have to think very hard about vetoing a budget bill, since there is a lot of good things in that legislation that needs funding.  So, just how committed is Gov. McAuliffe to his views. Time will tell.

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