RICHMOND, VA – Highlighting the legislative achievements of the 60-member strong House Republican Majority Caucus in delivering real reforms and forward-looking investments to address the concerns of the Commonwealth, Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) today highlighted the positive results of the policy initiatives advanced by House Republicans this year. After cutting fees, reducing authorized debt, investing in core government services and depositing an additional $64 million into the Rainy Day Fund, the House of Delegates today adjourned sine die, bringing an end to the 2011 Regular Session of the Virginia General Assembly.
“The Republican-led House made real progress during the 2011 Regular Session and on many fronts, especially in passing a fiscally sound and structurally balanced state budget that funds core government services,” said Speaker Howell. “At our insistence, the final budget agreement includes no new fees or higher taxes. It has no earmarks for non-state agencies. There is no funding or debt for a new ‘Taj Mahal’ to replace the General Assembly Building. There is $67 million less in authorized debt. And, the accelerated sales tax is eliminated for 80% of retailers. Yet, there also are prudent investments in economic development, transportation, education, health care and other important services. Overall, we’ve had a very productive legislative session.”
Below is the outcome for a selected list of 100+ measures – grouped by topic – supported by the House Republican Majority. In all, about 1,600 pieces of legislation were approved by the General Assembly this year.
On March 19, President Obama will visit
Delegate Comstock led the effort of 55 members of the House Republican Caucus sending a
Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and House Majority Caucus Chairman Samuel A. “Sam” Nixon, Jr. (R-Chesterfield) today highlighted the many legislative successes so far by members of the Republican Majority Caucus through the halfway point of the 2010 Session of the Virginia General Assembly. The announcement comes at the 2010 session’s midway mark, commonly referred to as “crossover.” By that date, which this year fell on February 16, each house must have acted on the bills filed by its respective members.
“As Virginians struggle in today’s economy, state government must address their needs without burdening them with additional job-killing taxes and burdensome requirements,” said Speaker Howell. “
“Offering practical solutions to Virginia’s challenges is a hallmark of House Republican leadership in the General Assembly,” said Chairman Nixon. “With our citizens and Commonwealth confronting the most difficult economic environment in decades, it is essential to build and expand upon our many accomplishments. The overwhelming bipartisan support for many items on our agenda underscores the ability of Republicans to govern effectively and respond appropriately to the concerns of Virginians.”
Speaker Howell and House Appropriations Chairman Lacey Putney wrote to Senators Warner and Webb about the extensive costs that Obamacare would impose on state government (see
In addition to the impact of adopting so-called Health Care Reform on the Federal budget deficit, Howell and Putney detail the impact on Virginia's budget. Fearing that the Democrats in Congress will try to hide the true costs of this ill-considered Pelosi-Reid health care scheme, Howell and Putney did extensive research to document the costs that would have to be born by Virginia (which is to say Virginia taxpayers).
Howell and Putney close by noting that 54 percent of Virginians oppose the Health Care bill. They also recite the common-sense proposals for real reform that have been left out of this ill-considered legislation--medical malpractice reform, association health plans, and expanded health savings accounts.
Delegate Phil Hamilton sets the record straight on MR Waivers:
Setting the Record Straight on MR Waivers
In a recent e-mail response to a question to the Governor about MR waivers, the Secretary of Health & Human Resources, Marilyn Tavenner wrote, “…Fortunately, the federal stimulus package enabled the Senate Finance Committee to restore funding to the Medicaid waiver program and prevent any caps on services or changes in waiver eligibility or enrollment procedures. The stimulus package provisions also enabled Virginia to restore funding for 200 new MR waiver slots and maintain Medicaid reimbursement for durable medical equipment...
Unfortunately, the Secretary failed to mention the efforts of the House of Delegates with regards to MR waivers in this biennial budget. In 2008, it was the House that included 400 additional MR waivers in each year of its biennial budget proposal. The Senate proposed zero additional MR waivers. During the budget conference process, the House eventually compromised and settled for 600 MR waivers in FY 2009 with a promise to try and do more for FY 2010 during the 2009 General Assembly session.
Because of the economic downturn, Governor Kaine was forced to make numerous difficult decisions in his budget amendment proposal that was released on December 17, 2008. One decision was to reduce the number of MR waivers for FY 2009 from 600 to 400.
This was one of the budget actions opposed by the House. In its budget proposal which was released on February 8, 2009, before any additional federal funding was available, the House budget restored the 200 MR waivers reduced by the Governor by funding them effective July 1, 2009 and funded 200 additional MR waivers to be available on January 1, 2010. This ensured 400 MR waivers for FY 2010.
Once the federal funding became available, the Senate finally passed its budget, over a week late, and restored the 200 MR waivers eliminated by the Governor. This was a necessary action for them to take because without doing it they would not be able to include the federal money in their budget proposal. They did not, however, provide any additional MR waivers for FY 2010.
During the 2009 budget conference process, it was the House conferees that insisted on increasing the number of MR waivers for FY 2010. Since the 200 waivers had to be restored to FY 2009 to maintain the 600 waivers approved in 2008, the House conferees insisted on the 200 MR waivers to be available on January 1, 2010. After much negotiation, the Senate agreed to the House position. This ensured 800 MR waivers for the biennium.
According to Delegate Phillip Hamilton (R-Newport News), “It has been the Republican-led House of Delegates that has demonstrated, through their actions to fund additional MR waivers with state general fund dollars, a serious commitment to the intellectually disabled citizens of Virginia. The Governor reduced the number of MR waivers in his budget proposal and the Senate did not provide any additional MR waivers even after they included federal funding in their budget proposal. Clearly, actions speak louder than words.”