There is a possibility that many Virginia Democrats may consider withholding their votes for the massive transportation funding bill if Gov. Bob McDonnell and the Republicans do not agree to expand Medicaid in the state under the Affordable Care Act.
Earlier in the week, McDonnell sent a letter to legislators working on the budget amendments and told them not to expand Medicaid before he gets approval from the federal government to have more control over the program’s costs.
The timing of the letter, according to the Virginian-Pilot, angered Democrats - who are strongly in favor of Medicaid expansion - and could complicate the passage of the transportation funding bill.
At least some Democrat votes will be needed to pass transportation, and most Democratic lawmakers aren’t wild about the transportation bill in its current state anyway. (They think it should be raising more money.)
The Democrats initially seemed poised to pass the bill, but a senior Senate Democrat told The Washington Examiner late Thursday that only five Democrats in the Senate now support the current proposal.
The two high-profile bills are unrelated, but the Democrats could theoretically hold transportation funding hostage until McDonnell agrees to Medicaid expansion.
IN OTHER NEWS:
* The famously split Virginia Senate unanimously voted in favor of a two-year moratorium on drone use. (Washington Times)
* Cuccinelli once again goes against McDonnell on the transportation funding bill. (News4)
* D.C. Councilman Jim Graham is fighting back against a resolution to reprimand him after the city’s ethics board suggested that he violated city ethics rules. (Washington Post)
*And then there's this quote: "But if congressional Republicans are going to cave on sequestration, I predict it will come after Obama parades his hostage, Bob McDonnell, through the streets of Newport News.” (The New Republic)
* O’Malley’s been everywhere lately, including Iowa and New Hampshire. Is he running for president or not? (Washington Post)
* “Yes on 8” - a campaign pushing support for D.C. referendum 8, which would give the city budget autonomy - launched Thursday. (Washington Post)
* The former head of D.C.’s Children & Youth Investment Trust Corp. was charged with tax fraud Thursday. The charges are related to her role in former Council member Harry Thomas Jr.’s theft of city money from that fund. (Washington City Paper)
* Gov. O’Malley’s bill to expand voting in the state calls for more early voting days, same day registration and the ability for all voters to obtain an absentee ballots online. But some Democrats and Republicans say his proposal raises questions about security and fraud. (Maryland Reporter)