Terry McAuilffe needs a legacy in the worst possible way. After attempting to shutdown the Virginia government in grand Clintonian style (he failed), McAuliffe has sought just about every means possible to impose Medicaid expansion on the Republican-led General Assembly.
…and has failed. Again, and again, and again. From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
McAuliffe, speaking to the assembly money committees in their temporary home in the Pocahontas Building, also called on legislators for the fourth time to expand Virginia’s Medicaid program with billions of dollars in federal funds under the Affordable Care Act after its survival from attempts to repeal the law in Congress.
They quickly declined the offer.
Let’s be clear on this matter: a state-run Medicaid expansion policy is dead on arrival in a Republican General Assembly. McAuliffe’s heavy-handed approach will be the lasting legacy of a governor whose primary accomplishment was breweries and self-aggrandizing cameos on AMC’s Turn. The heavy lift of either education-funding reform and developing a market-based solution for a Virginia health care exchange? That will be the work of a task force under a future governor — and it should be as broad and bi-partisan as possible.
Yet instead of proposing actual solutions, this governor was forced to back himself into the position the Republicans in the General Assembly had already determined to be the case — taking the $121 million surplus and putting it into a strategic cash reserve.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie, eyeing his own system of tax reform in Virginia, was very quick to point out the Commonwealth’s dwindling fortunes under McAuliffe (though not by name):
Our next governor must address the long term economic trends facing our Commonwealth with new policies to get us growing again. Our economy is stuck, and has been for six straight years. Under the current administration, Virginia fell to the bottom ten states in economic growth. It is time to get our economy growing again, in a truly sustainable manner. We can with the right policies, such as lowering taxes for all Virginians, so families can keep more of what they earn and businesses can grow and hire more workers; reducing burdensome regulations that inhibit job growth; and repealing outdated mandates that serve to block the dynamic creativity and innovation we need to unleash in our economy.
With the right policies, we are no longer talking about putting money in the savings account, but returning money to hard working Virginians and re-investing in the infrastructure and schools required to make Virginia’s international port of call the hub of an economic renaissance.
That’s the leadership Virginia has been missing these last four years.
Fact of the matter is, there is no resuscitation of McAuliffe’s dismal record on the economy, transportation, education, or health care solutions. McAuilffe continues to return to these themes such as a heavy-handed approach on Medicaid expansion — press scrum included — before caving in and doing exactly what Speaker Howell and the Republican-led General Assembly tells him to do.
Folks are tired of the circus. There is no legacy for McAuliffe to rescue; only a dead horse.