SENATE DEM LEADERSHIP FLOOR COMMENTS ON FURTHER SENATE BUDGET DELAYS

RICHMOND -- This afternoon, the Virginia Senate yet again failed to vote on, let alone pass, a budget. During a series of tense hour’s worth of points of personal privilege, Senate Democratic leaders made the following remarks:

Senate Democratic Leader Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said, “Healthcare is not a privilege; it is a right. A lot of us here have had a lot of breaks in our lives, but there are a lot of people out there who don’t get these breaks. They work hard but for one reason or another things don’t turn out right for them. These are the people who need our help… One way or another we are going to get Medicaid expansion to the Governor’s desk.”

Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Mamie Locke (D-Hampton) said, “Our localities are waiting for us to be fiscally responsible. We sit here in our lofty ivory tower being fiscally irresponsible without passing a budget - our primary responsibility here as legislators… It is time for us to do our jobs - not only to pass Medicaid expansion, but to pass a budget. That is what we were sent here to do.”

Senator Janet Howell (D-Fairfax), ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said, “We need to cast a bright spotlight on what is happening here. We have a minority of the Senate of Virginia delaying and obstructing the will of the majority of the Senate of Virginia, the will of the majority of the House of Delegates, the will of the Governor, and most importantly the overwhelming will of Virginians. Virginians overwhelmingly want Medicaid expansion, and while we are diddling and dawdling here on the Senate Floor, people are suffering. Some people are dying. And we diddle and we dawdle and we delay. I think it’s time, Mr President, that we get real here and do what we know has to be done and pass the budget and help Virginians.”

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