Senate Democrats reject House budget…leaving Virginia with no budget at all

On a 20-19 party line vote, the Senate has killed the House version of the budget. In a press release, Speaker Bill Howell had this to say:

“I was disappointed to hear that Senate Democrats killed the House budget this afternoon. Chairman Putney and the entire House Appropriations Committee worked untold hours, with Republicans and Democrats, to produce a fiscally sound budget that also provides the services important to Virginians. Since the Senate Democrats voted to kill their own budget last week, the General Assembly no longer has a budget to act on.”

“For me and my colleagues in the House of Delegates, it is frustrating to see our hard work rejected in the Senate. Even more distressing is the reality that Senate Democrats did not reject the Senate and House budgets based on policy. Rather, Senate Democrats are making a political power play over committee assignments.”

“Such maneuvering is not befitting of the General Assembly. House and Senate conferees should be starting work tomorrow finalizing the financial blueprint that will guide the Commonwealth through the end of FY 2014. I join my Republican colleagues in the House and Senate in urging the Senate Democrat Caucus to work together towards a budget solution.”

So there you have it, Virginia: there is no two-year state budget.

And all because Senate Democrats want power.

Not because they think the commonwealth’s spending priorities should be different, or even because taxes may not be high enough to meet some of those demands.

But because they want, more than anything else, to have more committee seats and chairman’s gavels.

  • Brian Kirwin

    Republicans should move to reconsider the vote every day

  • Natedogg614


  • William Bailey

    JMO: no budget means we all win because they can’t spend our money… Shut it down. I’m all for that! Remember GOP stans for less spending, less government interference and less regulation. Seems the Senate Dems just stole your theme!

    And I had to laugh at the “Dems just want power” line…. Isn’t that exactly what Bill Bolling’s letter announced he had in his hands when the Senators were 20-20 deadlocked? Please stop the spin… LOL

  • Bolling’s letter also announced that, per his reading of the Constitution, he can’t break the tie on budget bills. He could have just rolled the dice and let this go to court, but he was being responsible. Not exactly a power grab.

    If you think it’s a good thing for medicaid patients to stop getting service, cops, firefighters, teachers and others not get paid, and the government shutting down is a good thing, you’re either drunk or not being serious.

    Virginia is a well-run state. Our budget is balanced and we don’t spend more than we take in. This isn’t Washington.

  • Power instead of paying police; ego instead of funding education.

    Silly. Especially after someone like John Miller praised funding CNU in a press release, only to vote against the budget.

    Classic hypocrisy. Miller should be ashamed of himself.

  • To play devil’s advocate, who is the absent voter? It does look to me that there is at least one more person who can take blame for this travesty.

  • As you know, 21 votes are needed to pass a bill. Even a 20-20 results in budget failure, but good question.

    HB29 was 20-20

    HB30 was 20-19. Democrat Leader Saslaw did not vote.

  • William Bailey

    Brian: I’m as serious about shutting it down as you are in your balanced budget statement. A balanced budget that borrows from VRS and 4 billion for transportation isn’t really balanced now is it? However, you seem to believe it is and I take you at your word.

    If you think for a second the hundreds of thousands of state, city, school employees as well as others who are going to be hurt by the shut down are going to blame the dems in the Senate, you better think again.

    The GOP has all three branches and all the power. Who do you think is going to get nailed in November at the ballot box? Going to cry that those dems are more powerful than all the republicans in Richmond? Seriously how do you think this will play out with Gov. Bob McD’s VP future? Can’t even get a state budget passed, yet he wants to be a VP candidate? LOL

    I’ll take my chances it isn’t going to be the Senate Dems as Bob McD’s chances and reputation goes down the toilet.

  • William, there’s a big difference between issuing bonds for roads and borrowing money from China to hand over to bankrupt states that haven’t been able to weather the economic downturn like we have. That’s the difference between how Virginia handles the budget and how we do it in Washington.

    We may have all three branches, but we don’t have the Senate 100%.

    If the Democrats felt that the budget was horrible, they could have presented an alternative. They haven’t done that. This is pure politics, and they’re hoping that we’ll cave like we did on the abortion bills. They’re making a big miscalculation.

    Our budget is responsible. What’s irresponsible is holding it hostage to try and get out of the Senate Republicans what they couldn’t get on election day, in the courthouse, or through their failed backroom machinations before the session began. That’s what the Democrats are doing, and it’s obvious.

    This has nothing to do with Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling, the House Republicans or even the Senate Republicans. This is Dick Saslaw and his leadership team’s fault. No one else’s.

  • What is not to like? Va gov is pretty good as state governments go. But shutting it down for a few days will blow-back on the Democrats WHILE saving taxpayer money. Delightful.

  • Pingback: Dear Virginia, ask your Democratic Senator why they won’t pass a budget | The Write Side of My Brain()

  • Steve Vaughan

    So, it was okay for the Republicans to play political hardball on the session’s opening day, but it’s wrong for Democrats to use their last bit of political leverage to play hardball now?

    Don’t worry, there’s no way the Democratic Caucus will stick together on this. They don’t have the party discipline that the Republicans do.

  • Mike Barrett

    Yes, the hypocrisy meter is pegged all the way to one side, showing that all this angst and feigned outrage at democrats using the few tools left to them to assert that their constituents matter. Republicans set up this conflict by treating their colleagues as 2nd class elected officials; that is, sit down, shut up, we will take any action we deem appropriate and let you know when we are done.

    So is there any real surprise that democrats would bide their time and act when they had leverage? No, of course not, and if the shoe were on the other foot, republicans would have done the same thing.

    So, lesson number one; if you treat people poorly, expect the same in return. Now start working for individual liberty from government intrusion, education, roads, human rights, public safety, support for local government, and then we can discuss a vote for your budget.

    Your soiree into the culture wars has repurcussions, and if you think that is just from democrats, it really shows you all are as isolated as is Mitch Romney.

  • It’s amusing to hear a Democrat rallying for individual liberty from government intrusion.

    Well, I’m glad to see you’re finally on our side when it comes to Obamacare, Mike.

  • Steve – It’s one thing to play hardball and claim the legal and constitutional high ground as Dems tried on opening day and went to court to do. But realizing that they were WRONG, they dropped their suit and went all politics on this one. They are willing to play political games with the state budget at the expense of hardworking Virginians, our schools, our roads, our public safety, etc. It’s disgusting.

  • Mike Barrett

    Nice try Brian, but of course, I do support the affordable health act. How could I be a hypocrite; I have earned Medicare and Tricare and use them both.

    Health care and insurance provide a conundrum; since as human beings, we won’t deny health care to those who need it, we must find a rational way to put this value into effect. Putting the cost of that care on the backs of only those who had been responsible enough to buy insurance is unfair.

    Those who opt out, but receive care, owe us all. Frankly, I would have preferred a system like Medicare, but of course, republicans would have none of that. So we have the next best alternative; private insurance, and an individual mandate to share the cost.

    I can accept and support that.

  • Mike Barrett

    Jason, have you taken leave of your senses? The republicans have destroyed a once proud and functioniong system of transportation by neglect and starvation of resources, and you have the gall to suggest this budget would fix that? Their failure to address this critical function is a travesty that our children and grandchildren will have to fix.

  • Steve Vaughan

    JR: HB 30 was the House budget, failed 20-19, Saslaw not voting as you note.
    SB 30 was the Senate budget. Failed 20-17.

    I think Democrats, out of an excess of parliamentary caution, are making sure these votes don’t end up in 20-20 ties.

    The reason? They are worried that on a 20-20 tie, Norment will stand up and request that Bolling reconsider his own ruling that the L.G. can’t vote to break the tie on the budget. The Republicans could actually challenge the ruling of the chair on that.

    That vote would probably end up 20-20, with all the GOP senators voting to overrule Bolling and Dem senators voting to uphold him! 🙂 It would then come down to Bollng’s tie-breaking vote on overruling the chair (and yes, he can vote on that, I’ve seen it happen). Now probably he doesn’t vote to overrule himself (particularly because his early decision is soundly constitutionally based). But Democrats aren’t trusting him to be consistent.

  • Eric the 1/2 troll

    “So, lesson number one; if you treat people poorly, expect the same in return.”

    In other words , R’s, the message is, “As you sow, so shall you reap.”

  • I don’t see how this is “treat[ing] people poorly,” at all. The Democrats had ample say in the crafting of the budget. And while there are some issues still outstanding, according to some Democrats, the primary reason they’re stalling on the budget is political.

    They want power sharing and they’re waiting until the very end of the session to put up the fight. They enjoyed their fun while we spun our wheels on overreaching social legislation and now they’ve calculated that it’s their time to overreach.

    Elections have consequences and if the Democrats wanted to have power in the Senate, they should have done a better job in 2011. That they didn’t and that we control the LG’s office, means we get the gavels. It’s that simple.

    They have another shot next year at LG if they want to win back control.

    If this were Republicans stalling on the budget for purely partisan political reasons, you Democrats would be frothing at the mouth. That you aren’t is, as Norm notes, hypocritical.

  • Mike Barrett

    Yes, everyone realizes this is a political process. But just as you suggest elections have their consequences, so does treating other elected officials as also rans. That is exactly what the republicans have done in the Senate. This outcome could have been predicted at the beginning when the republicans ignored the will of the people in Virginia and chose to grab power instead of share it.

    So Brian, you know how it works. They will talk, they will pontificate some more, they will narrow down the differences, and a budget will be approved. Those who were not heard will now be heard. Compromises will be made. And frankly, that is a better outcome for the citizens of Virginia than just one Party’s power grab has been able to produce.

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