Va. lawmakers hopeful state budget work will wrap-up this week

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP/WAVY) — The Virginia lawmakers reconvene Tuesday in hopes of being able to finalize a state budget.

Lawmakers have been split on the issue of Medicaid expansion for months.

House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox says the delay may impact teachers, local schools and government — which rely on the budget to create a two-year spending plan.

Cox says he is disappointed in the process is taking so long.

“You can’t keep asking people to be calm when you simply postpone every week what you said you were going to do,” said Cox.

In March, the General Assembly adjourned without a budget. Then in April — after a special session — the House sent a budget to the state, but there is still no budget from the Senate.

Senate leaders say the budget may include Medicaid expansion, but it is uncertain which form that may take.

Sen. Frank Wagner (R-Virginia Beach) supports the expansion of Medicaid. He says the budget is taking longer than expected, but it’s all a part of the legislative process

“I’m confident that we’ll pass a budget. If not Tuesday evening, certainly by Wednesday the House will have a budget,” said Wagner. “I hope by the end of the week, (Gov. Ralph Northam) will have signed it.”

Virginia’s government will shut down July 1 if no budget is passed.

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