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Procedural move keeps state budget alive

On Thursday, Del. Lacey Putney, I-Bedford, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, requested and was granted unanimous consent from the General Assembly to introduce two new budget bills beyond the normal deadline.

The Senate failed to pass previous budget bills advanced in the House, rendering them dead for the session.

Even with the bipartisan agreement on moving forward with the new budget bills, there was also partisan rancor over where the budget debate will go from here.

“Our caucus … welcomes the opportunity to improve the previous budget, ensuring that the priorities of all Virginians – maintaining adequate school funding, finding real transportation solutions, protecting the retirement of teachers, police, and firefighters – are addressed,” said Democratic Caucus Chair Mark Sickles, D-Franconia.

House Speaker Bill Howell, R-Stafford, repeated the GOP party line about the vote by Senate Democrats to block consideration of the partisan House GOP budget as being unprecedented despite recent history wherein Republicans voted to block Democratic budgets.

“Today the entire House of Delegates – Republican and Democrats alike – sent a message to Senate Democrats: we have let this political theater play out for long enough. Now, Senate Democrats must come to the table and earnestly work with us on the financial blueprint that will govern Virginia’s services and spending for the next two years,” Howell said

augusta free press
augusta free press