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Morning Read: Virginia Democrats, Republicans Feud Over Medicaid Expansion

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Virginia Democrats say they'll band together in the evenly split Senate and force a budget stalemate if Republicans don't agree to a Medicaid expansion, according to the Washington Post.

    The state's Senate Finance and House Appropriations committees approved amendments to the state’s current $85 billion budget Sunday. But while the House committee approved its budget amendments unanimously, all five Democrats on the 15-person Senate committee said they voted against the proposal because it did not include language to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

    Under the Affordable Care Act, states can expand their Medicaid progams to people with incomes of up to 138 percent of the poverty level. The federal government would cover the costs of this expansion for the first three years, with its contribution gradually decreasing to 90 percent after that. This amounts to about $2 billion a year in federal money for Virginia.

    A budget stalemate would not force a government shutdown, since McDonnell’s two-year budget was passed last year and is already in place. Instead, it would mean that the budget would remain as is, without any of the changes called for in the budget amendments.

    The amendments largely focused on a 3-percent pay boost for state employees, school teachers and support staff, college faculty and local constitutional officers. A 2-percent raise was already scheduled to go into effect in July, and the House and Senate plans build on that.

    The House budget also called for $30 million to enhance school security.

    IN OTHER NEWS:

    * Marion Barry tweets that “the Beltway is proud of” the Ravens, and seems to tick off both D.C. and Baltimore. (Deadspin)

    * Grover Norquist’s anti-tax group will make robocalls in 22 Virginia districts, urging voters to contact their legislators and tell them to vote against Gov. Bob McDonnell’s $3.1 billon transportation plan, which the group considers a tax increase. (The Virginian-Pilot)

    * Virginia’s Senate Courts of Justice Committee is scheduled to hear legislation that would close the “gun show loophole” Monday. (AP)

    * Pro-gun legislators in Maryland prepare to challenge Gov. O’Malley’s gun control package, arguing that his proposed gun licensing fees could exceed $400 per person, making it so only rich people can afford guns. (Maryland Reporter)

    * An in-depth look at District CFO Natwar Gandhi’s work over his last two terms. (Washington Post)

    * As CFO Gandhi retires, a national search is underway for his replacement. Lawmakers say they would prefer someone local who places more of an emphasis on interaction with the public than Gandhi did. (Washington Examiner).

    * Gov. Martin O’Malley bet some beer on the Super Bowl with the California Gov. Jerry Brown. (Baltimore Sun)

    * Over the weekend, D.C. officials announced a partnership between prosecutors, the mayor’s office and the LGBT community that would seek stronger punishments for people convicted in bias or hate crimes. (AP)

    * In the Maryland death penalty debate, those against executions argue that it costs more to kill a murderer than to keep him/her alive. (Maryland Reporter)