Lawmakers still looking for budget compromise as legislative session winds down

By  | 

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) Governor Ralph Northam advocated for Medicaid expansion during a visit to Lynchburg last week.

"We still have a little bit of work to do," Northam told reporters, "but I'm optimistic we're heading in the right direction."

With Republicans in the House of Delegates now on board with a budget that includes Medicaid expansion, the hangup is in the State Senate.

"Boy this is really fascinating," said Virginia Tech Professor and WDBJ7 Political Analyst Bob Denton, "because normally when we're faced with a shutdown or no budget or a special session, it's because of the difference between Democrats and Republicans.

In this case, Denton notes, it's Republicans in the House and the Senate who are at odds.

"From a political standpoint, some of the Senate Republicans are concerned they might have a tough primary if they vary a little bit," Denton said Monday afternoon. "And of course, the sobering fact for the Republican House members, 'look we saw the blue wave in November,' so it's interesting to see how the politics are being played out."

We should know by the end of the week whether or not budget negotiators can find common ground on medicaid expansion,

Denton says as lawmakers read the polls and feel the pressure, he believes some sort of compromise is still possible.