When you were a kid, did you have a family member or friend who would never play by the rules of a board game? Playing Monopoly they’d insist there was a reason to not pay rent, get out of jail, or whatever suited them. They’d weasel word, “Well, our family plays be these different rules.” They tried to cheat, even though the rules were clearly written out. It’s annoying and frustrating behavior for a child. It’s dangerous and threatening behavior for elected officials – as with the Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe.
Governor McAuliffe signed Executive Order 65 to expand Medicaid, even though he doesn’t have the authority.
The Governor of Virginia is very powerful. That’s why we have a one-term only Governor in Virginia. Because such power corrupts. When a Governor makes up new powers, his corruption and abuse of power is self-evident. His disdain and disrespect for the Rule of Law is on record – and should be held to account.
In Virginia, the Governor can’t use his line item veto for specific words, but has to veto the entire line item. For example, if a bill authorized higher tolls in 3 named roads in Northern VA, the Governor can’t pick one road or two to veto the toll. He has to veto the all the tolls or none.
When, the General Assembly voted the Medicaid appropriation and said, specifically, that Medicaid couldn’t be expanded, the Governor signed an Executive Order saying he would ignore that instruction.
Except, the budget is the law in Virginia. Executive orders aren’t. When the Governor tries to overrule the law with an Executive Order, he is cheating like a petulant child flipping over the Monopoly board.
The Speaker of the House, Bill Howell, released this legal opinion, ““Whether to extend Medicaid coverage to individuals who do not fit the current statutory requirements established by Virginia law is a quintessential legislative decision. Nothing in Virginia statutory or constitutional law empowers the Governor to make that decision unilaterally, let alone to execute that decision without the requisite appropriation of funds from the General Assembly. There is simply no constitutional path for the Governor to expand Virginia’s Medicaid program without obtaining the requisite authority and appropriation of funds from the General Assembly to do so."
The Virginia First Foundation urges the General Assembly to take whatever action is necessary to stop the Governor from violating the Rule of Law.
Furthermore, the General Assembly should hold the Governor accountable with whatever is the strongest, clearest accountability they can muster.
Virginians should inform their Virginia Delegates and Senators, they want to be represented by public censure or impeachment – to restore respect for the Rule of Law in Virginia. The General Assembly failed to act when the Attorney General violated his oath to defend the Virginia Constitution. They shouldn’t be allowed by The People to fail to do their duty again.