The state budget standoff continues in Richmond. Thursday, Republican lawmakers tried to turn up the heat on Democrats here at home.
Senate Democrats and three Senate Republicans are committed to Marketplace Virginia, the plan that would use federal funds to extend private health insurance benefits to up to 400,000 Virginians.
House Republicans say they won't pass a budget that includes Medicaid expansion. And the two sides aren't talking.
Thursday morning, Republicans in our area said members of the State Senate should return to Richmond and act on the House budget proposal. And they suggested State Senator John Edwards holds the key.
Republican delegates Greg Habeeb, Chris Head, and Charles Poindexter joined State Senator Ralph Smith and Roanoke County Supervisors Chairman Joe McNamara for the news conference.
Because John Edwards is the chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, the Republicans argue he has the power to call members of the State Senate back to Richmond.
"And I would say our school children, our teachers and our brave first responders need them to do their job," Habeeb told reporters. "Call the Senate back to Richmond, John Edwards. Let's get to work. "
"I have no authority to bring the Senate back to deal with the budget until the budget committees have done their job," Edwards countered. "And they have not yet done their job."
Edwards says Republicans are responsible for the current impasse, because the House Appropriations Committee has refused to act on the Senate budget proposal. And he says House Republicans are showing no interest in compromise.
So the debate continues, and the clock is ticking on the budget that expires at the end of June.