UPDATE: Democratic Obstructionism in the Virginia Senate

Here we go… Senate Democrats are now holding up the Virginia budget over two roads — brinkmanship at its utter worst and most politically vile.  Feel free to watch the slow-motion car wreck here.  Senate Republicans have every right to be absolutely outraged, as do 134 localities on the verge of approving budgets.

The people have spoken, the House of Delegates has spoken, the Senate Republicans have compromised, and the Governor is ready to sign.

What are Don McEachin and Janet Howell thinking????

UPDATE:  The conference report fails 20-19, the budget requiring a majority to pass.  The budget is dead.

UPDATE x2:  The Republican Party of Virginia has the timeline down pat:

Democrats have been warning since they lost in November that they would do whatever was necessary to overturn the will of the voters and hold on to their key committee assignments.

But don’t take our word for it. Let’s take a look back at the timeline:

* First, they filed a lawsuit.

* When that failed, they dug in their heels and said they wouldn’t pass a budget unless they got their committee assignments back.

From Democrat Sen. Chap Petersen:

“The Senate Democrats today kicked off the beginning of a process – the process to re-balance the structure of the Senate so that it reflects the Senate membership and the Commonwealth’s actual voting population…”

* But once the Washington Post and other editorial boards called them out, they decided it was about education.

The editorial:

“…The few, flimsy objections Democrats have raised about the budget are a smokescreen. Their real issue is power-sharing: Democrats want it; Republicans won’t give it…”

The reaction:

“Democrats said Wednesday they would divorce their demand for more power in the Virginia Senate from the effort to pass a state budget, as members of the General Assembly returned to Richmond for a special session…”

* Democrats got more money for education… from the Washington Times:

“… In the process, Democrats secured $214 million more for education, including $40 million for Northern Virginia school districts to competitively recruit staff, an extra $45 million for social programs and additional aid for local governments…”

Once Democrats got what they demanded, they discovered they were upset about the Dulles Toll Road – four days before the final vote  … the same issue that Democrat Sen. Janet Howell derided her Republican opponent over  during the 2011 election as “bogus.” She called it a “publicity stunt.” From the Fairfax Times:

“… [Republican Candidate Forrest] also criticized Howell for not doing enough to get state funding for the project. Howell has served as a lead budget negotiator for the Senate in recent years.

Howell points to a letter she sent to Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R), criticizing him for spending $850 million to buy down tolls in the Hampton Roads area while not doing the same for the Dulles Toll Road.

“Nobody, especially me, will tolerate $17 tolls,” she said. “It’s basically a publicity stunt by Patrick Forrest to draw attention to his campaign.”

So to sum up, the entire Democrat argument at this time: they’re willing to hold up transportation projects in all over the Commonwealth, as well as funding for teachers, firefighters, police… all to lower the tolls on less than 20 miles of road in Northern Virginia.

Bottom line: Democrats have decided they will shut down the government to get their committee seats back. 

Sounds about right.

And they’ll use any excuse they can find to do it.

That too.

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