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Afternoon Read: Va. Budget Impasse Persists

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    NEWSLETTERS

    * The Virginia Senate once again failed to adopt an amended version of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s proposed two year, $85 billion budget.

    The budget must be passed by a majority of the 40 senators, but with 20 Republicans and 20 Democrats, the Senate is in a deadlock that is not likely to loosen.

    If the General Assembly fails to pass a budget by the end of the fiscal year in June, it could face a government shutdown with no funding for the government to operate.

    The Richmond Times Dispatch reports that both Republican and Democratic caucuses are expected to discuss the impasse shortly. 

    *This is one of those stories where you don’t know if it’s an Onion parody, a politician gone crazy, or something in between.

    Maryland Rep. Roscoe Bartlett—you know, the veteran legislature with a pretty impressive white mustache—was thought to have backed legislation that would give a $250 annual tax deduction to every Mustached American for mustache-related grooming supplies.

    The American Mustache Institute is the brain behind this “Stache Act”—Stimulus to Allow for Critical Hair Expenses –and said it had been searching for a politician to help champion its cause.

    AMI wrote on its website:

    There is a long road ahead for this important legislation,” said AMI Chief Executive Officer Dr. Abraham Jonas Froman, noting the proposal will now likely be scrutinized by this august group of legislators. “We thank Representative Bartlett for stepping forward in the fight for fiscal parity for people of facial hair — both women and men.

    But by Tuesday, it became unclear if Bartlett actually supported the “Stache Act” or just personally donned a well-groomed mustache.

    The Weekly Standard reported that a staffer actually referred the bill to the Ways and Means Committee without her boss' knowledge.

    VIA The Weekly Standard:

    “I did not raise it with him,” Lisa Wright, Bartlett’s press secretary admitted. “Actually it’s a staff referral . . . I did it, I referred it.” When asked whether Congressman Bartlett knew about the referral, Wright sheepishly said, “I don’t think I told him yet.”

    The Weekly Standard later updated the story and wrote:

    Lisa Wright called Wednesday morning to clarify that she only referred the mustache proposal to the Ways and Means Committee, and did not actually send a bill to the committee. In a follow-up message left on my voicemail, Wright says, “Please check Thomas to look for the Stache Act. You will not find it. It does not exist. There is no bill. There is no legislation. And an advocacy group that characterizes it as legislation—and you used that term with me—does not make it legislation.”

    Keep posted for more about this mustache mystery.

    In the meantime, here is a video AMI posted on its website about its journey to Washington to get the “Stache Act” passed.

     

    * The brother of VA Sen. Jill Holtzman—the state senator who sponsored the controversial abortion ultrasound bill—has filed papers to join his sister in the state Senate.

    Todd Holtzman is planning to run for state senator of District 26 in 2015, according to The Virginia Public Access Project.

    The Post reports that he is running for the seat vacated by Sen. Mark Obenshain, who expects to run for attorney general in 2013.

    If Obenshain were to win the attorney general race a special election would be called before 2015.

    * Congressman Jim Moran, a Democrat from Northern Virginia, is calling for an offensive ad against the president to be removed.

    The ad, which disparages the recent health law and says “Go to h*** Barack ,“ was reportedly found in the Clarendon Metro. It is unclear if there are any more ads at other stations.

    In a letter to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Moran wrote:

    "I accept that WMATA should display ads, including those of a political nature, in the Metro system in order secure the revenue they provide. But minimum standards of decency must be maintained through a vetting process. I assume such a process exists, but surely this ad does not meet those standards. I call on you to remove this ad and any others like it from the system."