Virginia House Majority Leader Kirk Cox on Sunday accused Democrats of using budget maneuvers to hold funding for teachers and hospitals "hostage."
"Gov. Terry McAuliffe and General Assembly Democrats have brought Washington-style politics to Richmond and injected Obamacare's Medicaid expansion into the budget debate," said Cox, R-Colonial Heights.
"It's an unsustainable, unworkable plan that would rely on federal approval. It includes provisions that the Obama administration will likely never approve. And it still relies on billions of dollars in borrowed money from Washington."
The GOP-controlled House voted overwhelmingly against the budget plan hatched and passed by Democrats in the state Senate. That sets the stage for a showdown in Richmond.
"Gov. McAuliffe and General Assembly Democrats know that Medicaid expansion won't stand on its merits," Cox said in a video released Sunday. That's why they have decided to hold hostage funding for our teachers, law enforcement officials, local governments and our hospitals."
Cox expressed disappointment at the move.
"Last year, both Republicans and Democrats agreed to a plan to take Medicaid out of the budget debate. We took the authority to expand Medicaid away from the governor, and gave it to a commission charged with reforming Medicaid and exploring the long-term costs before considering expansion."
"Now, Democrats are trying to use the budget as a bargaining chip to get around the bipartisan process they agreed to last year," Cox said.
McAuliffe, in a statement issued Thursday, called the Senate budget "smart" and "market-based."
“Passing the Marketplace Virginia proposal will expand (Medicaid) coverage for up to 400,000 Virginians, create as many as 30,000 jobs and save the state budget $1 billion between now and 2022," McAuliffe predicted.
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