Senate Republicans Blackmail Northern Virginia Over Budget

Republican Senator Threatens to Cut Funds for Northern Virginia Public Schools

Senate Republicans’ extreme, divisive agenda reached new heights yesterday. Republican Senator Emmett Hanger (R-Augusta) threatened to remove $42 million of cost-of-competing money from the Republican Senate budget if Democrats did not support the Republican Senate budget.

This is blackmail, pure and simple. This is raw, partisan, political maneuvering.

This attempt at budget blackmail typifies the way Republican Senators want to put together a budget: it’s either our way, or the highway. They are playing politics with the budget by threatening to completely eliminate the cost-of-competing funding that allows Northern Virginia to recruit and retain good teachers and staff.

Senator Richard L. Saslaw said, “Threatening school funding in order to force people to vote for your budget is not how you should operate in a Senate that’s split 20-20. This is Washington-style politics. Instead of trying to write the best budget for all Virginians, they are holding Northern Virginia school children hostage." 

“I am disappointed in the harsh partisan rhetoric of my Republican colleagues. Democrats have articulated strong policy reasons for opposing the Republican Senate budget. Playing petty political games with money that our public schools need to hire good staff is the height of arrogance,” said Senator Janet Howell (D-Fairfax).

“This is budget blackmail. This is the kind of partisan maneuvering that is preventing us from moving forward. This is the kind of political gamesmanship that is preventing Democrats and Republicans from having a truly bipartisan discussion about our Commonwealth’s priorities,” said Senator Mark Herring (D-Loudoun).

Senator Hanger’s comments were reported by the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star yesterday: http://blogs.fredericksburg.com/newsdesk/2012/02/28/assembly-budget-battle-may-hurt-no-va/.

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