Va. lawmakers still have budget, Medicaid expansion to finalize in final days of session

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Photo Courtesy: Virginia Capitol Hill

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – This year’s General Assembly session is scheduled to wrap up in a few days, but there is still some unfinished business lawmakers are sorting through before they leave Richmond.

The House and Senate are expected to adjourn March 10, following a 60-day session.

Since gaveling in Jan. 10, lawmakers have gone over thousands of bills.

More than 2,200 bills were filed in the House and more than 1,200 in the Senate.

While many bills have passed or been killed in the last two months, there are still dozens being considered in both chambers. That means lawmakers could run out of time to vote on everything before they adjourn.

But the biggest thing to check off the to-do list is finalizing Virginia’s two-year budget. As part of that process, lawmakers must decide whether Virginia will expand Medicaid.

The House included Medicaid expansion in its budget proposal. The Senate did not.

So far, there has not been an agreement.

If there is not a consensus by Saturday, lawmakers will have to continue working toward a compromise – past their March 10 deadline.

Gov. Ralph Northam could also call a special session. The governor is able to do that when it is deemed necessary or advisable, and must do so when petitioned by two-thirds of the members of both chambers.

If lawmakers do end up passing a budget – but it does not include Medicaid expansion – Northam will likely step in.

He’s been a vocal supporter of extending health coverage to hundreds of thousands of low-income Virginians.

Northam could send down an amendment for lawmakers to consider when they return to Richmond next month.

Reconvened session is set for April 18. That is when lawmakers go over the governor’s amendments and vetoes.

To view the session calendar, click HERE.

Click HERE to see daily floor calendars for the House and the Senate.

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