Lame-duck Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin had to go run his yapper over the weekend about how Democrats don’t believe in a strong America, and because he can’t get out of his own dumb way, he won’t be getting his $2 billion basketball arena.
“This is the speech he gives while wanting us to compromise with him and give him the Glenn Dome?!?!” Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee Chair Louise Lucas tweeted after Youngkin’s remarks at Washington and Lee University on Saturday, ahead of another tweet signaling the death knell for his proposed $2 billion Alexandria arena project.
“Governor’s Arena Bill is not on the Senate Finance and Appropriations docket because his proposal is not ready for prime time. This is what happens when Executive Branch doesn’t operate in good faith and doesn’t have respect for the Legislative Branch,” said Lucas, D-Portsmouth.
This is the same Youngkin who, memorably, let himself measure the drapes on a rubberstamp Virginia General Assembly last fall, before his promise to sign any bill on abortion that Republicans could get to his desk gave Democrats control of both the House of Delegates and State Senate.
The embarrassing defeat at the polls for Youngkin, just two years into having redrawn the political map in Virginia, derailed his already-doomed Republican Party presidential bid, and cast him off into lame-duck status for the next two years, term-limited by the Virginia Constitution.
The “Glenn Dome,” as Lucas referred to it, loomed as the only possible legacy of the Youngkin years within his reach, though it was far from being guaranteed that the General Assembly would sign on, given the prohibitive costs, the bulk – 80 percent – of which would be borne by Virginia taxpayers.
The deal announced in December by Youngkin and Ted Leonsis, the billionaire owner of the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the NHL’s Washington Capitals, included plans for a supposed “world-class Entertainment District” in Alexandria, with Virginia taxpayers funding $1.6 billion of the proposed $2 billion bottom-line cost.
An Alexandria arena bill was amended by a House of Delegates committee last week to give the General Assembly more control of the public body that would oversee the project.
The Senate has yet to take up a similar measure introduced in its chamber, and Lucas, asked by the Washington Post if the bill was “dead” in the Senate, she responded: “As far as I’m concerned, it is.”
The Post story noted that the bill was then left off the Senate docket for the last meeting of that chamber before what is known as crossover, which means the Senate will not act on its own version of the legislation.
The House measure would be the only arena bill still alive, and its fate may already be sealed, too, by Youngkin’s bad-faith remarks at the W&L Mock Convention, in which he asserted that “(t)oday’s progressive Democratic Party does not believe in nor do they want a strong America, an America with no rivals.”
“They are content to concede, to compromise away, to abandon the very foundations that have made America exceptional,” Youngkin went on to say in a clip that he highlighted on his social media accounts.
The juice from that can’t possibly have been worth the squeeze.
“This doesn’t sound like a leader that wants to work with Democrats to move Virginia forward,” said State Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Charlottesville, on the Youngkin comments.
Good luck, governor, getting your Glenn Dome built, is the general message here.
“As long as the full faith and credit of the Commonwealth is backing this project, my answer continues to be an absolute no,” Lucas said.