Morning Read: VA GOP Says It Won’t Implement Health Care Reforms Until After Election

Health Care React Romney

Mitt Romney has said he will repeal President Obama’s health care reforms if elected president. And unsurprisingly,  Gov. Bob McDonnell--a vocal Romney supporter--is taking him at his word.

Virginia Republicans have said they have no plans to begin implementing those health care reforms until after the November election, according to The Washington Examiner.

House Speaker Bil Howell told the Examiner that McDonnell is not expected to order a special session that would allow the legislature to create the framework for the new health care system and  that the Republican-controlled General Assembly lacks the two-thirds majority needed to call the session.

Via Examiner:

"The overriding thing is, it's going to cost an incredible amount of time and effort [to have a special session]," Howell said. "We can undo the 'unaffordable care act.' If we do, it's all for not."

That riled Democrats, who are demanding that McDonnell call the special session.

"I think that's derelict of duty," Sen. Don McEachin, D-Henrico.

"This 'let's see who's in power' game is irresponsible and partisan politics," McEachin said. "It puts us in risk of running afoul of the law."

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley--who is a vocal Obama supporter--has been one of the Democrats criticizing McDonnell and other Republican states on their slow implementation of the reforms.

On CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday,O’Malley said  Democrats could campaign on health care if they put the law in the right context, tying it to the fact that America needs to create jobs and expand opportunity.

O’Malley—whose state has been an early implementer of some of the law’s provisions—says the Democratic party needs to do a better job of explaining the benefits of the law.

* In Virginia, Republican George Allen’s strategy in the state’s highly-anticipated Senate race is to link his candidate, Democrat Tim Kaine, to President Obama.

But in a purple state where, at this point, it’s a complete toss-up whether the president will even win or not, is that a smart strategy?

Politico asks this question and says it’s a risky bet for the GOP.

In red states hosting Senate races like Missouri, Montana and North Dakota, linking the Democratic candidate to the president is a no-brainer. Running with Obama in these states is a clear loser — and the candidates know it.

But in the Old Dominion — where the president is clinging to a small but consistent polling advantage over Mitt Romney — the calculus is trickier.

The GOP’s big bet is that Obama’s popularity will slide in this quintessential battleground state just in time to take the former Democratic National Committee chairman down with him.
Yet even as Allen and his outside conservative allies pound away at Kaine’s connection to the president in press releases, on the air and on the stump, Kaine refuses to blink.

Read more here.

* The University of Virginia student newspaper, The Cavalier Daily, reports that the student council—the governing body elected to represent the student voice on campus—said it has enough support to go forward with a statement asking Head Rector Helen Dragas to resign.

Dragas, the head of the Board of Visitors who led the ousting of University President Teresa Sullivan, voted with a unanimous Board last Tuesday to reinstate the president. And on Friday, McDonnell reappointed Dragas to her post as head of the board.

The InsideNoVa editorial board asks why McDonnell would keep Dragas on the board.

It was Dragas, after all, who played the role of chief instigator in working behind the scenes to fire Sullivan less than two years into her presidency. But it was something Gov. Bob McDonnell said when he made the reappointment on Friday that caught our eye. Stating that Dragas can somehow help the Charlottesville community heal from weeks of upheaval resulting from what she herself precipitated, McDonnell accompanied his reappointment an¬nouncement by saying, in part, “I am … concerned that the first female rec¬tor seemed to become the sole target of recent criticism.”

We find that particular observation circuitous and a bit baffling. First of all, Dragas came in for the most criti¬cism because she was admittedly the most responsible for Sullivan’s ouster.

Secondly, we’re not sure what news sources the governor’s mansion de¬pends on these days, but the entire board came in for retribution, as well, and the board’s vice rector became an early scapegoat for Dragas when he resigned his board seat.

More curiously, is the governor sug¬gesting that somehow Dragas came in for unwarranted criticism because she is a woman? That’s a rather preposter¬ous stance — given the fact that not a shred of evidence we’re aware of even hints at that — so if he has evidence of such gender discrimination against the rector he should stand up and say so.

* Metrorail fair hikes are in effect Monday. Increases average about five percent, with actual prices varying greatly depending on distance. The peak-of-the-peak surcharge will be eliminated, which means that some rides may actually be cheaper.

The Post has a handy calculator to see how fare increases will affect you.

* On Friday, D.C. Homicide Watch reported that D.C. saw a 19 percent drop in homicides in the first half of 2012, compared to the first half of 2011,

The data also showed a significant decrease in gun violence and domestic violence compared to last year.

According to The Post, a steep increase in robberies “that alarmed District authorities and residents in early 2012 has eased at the midyear mark. Police credit a range of tactics for helping slow the rise.”

Robberies rose 20 percent year over year through March, but were up less than 8 percent as of June 28, city statistics show.

Read more here.

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