Newsletter - May 21, 2018
Delegate Roem and I will also be speaking at an event organized by the Kingstowne Communion, a new United Methodist church in Alexandria. Please join us Tuesday night at Fiona's Irish Pub (5810 Kingstowne Center, Alexandria) at 7pm for a provocative discussion on faith, gender, identity, and the way in which religious institutions deal with these issues. I don't get a chance to talk about my personal theology very much, and I look forward to sharing my religious outlook and hearing yours.
Newsletter - April 26, 2018
Last week, the House of Delegates again passed a budget that included Medicaid Expansion. I was proud to cast my vote one more time for bringing health care to 400,000 Virginians, returning $400 million in Virginians' federal tax dollars to Virginia, and pumping almost $2 billion into Virginia's economy. I'm hopeful that this budget -- combined with the necessary action by the Virginia Senate -- will finally bring Medicaid Expansion to Virginia. We still have more work to do to get it through the Senate, but with some Republican Senators starting to waver, I remain optimistic. I expect to be called back to Richmond sometime in May after the Senate passes its version of the budget, although as of now, we don't know when that will be.
Newsletter - April 16, 2018
Tomorrow (Tuesday the 17th) at 4 pm, the Virginia General Assembly will meet again in special session to vote on a budget that, we hope, will include Medicaid Expansion. And while we have reason to hope that it will eventually occur, it's certainly not a done deal. We cannot be complacent. We have to keep the pressure on, until 400,000 Virginians get health care and $421 million comes into our budget in what must be the greatest win/win policy of modern times.
Newsletter - April 10, 2018
Since we adjourned our session this year without passing a budget, Governor Northam has called us back for a special session to begin Wednesday. The main source of contention between the House and Senate has been Medicaid Expansion, which I remain fully committed to. The House passed a budget, which I voted for, back in February that expanded Medicaid using the nearly half a billion federal dollars that we've been inexplicably refusing for the past four years. But the Senate went the other way and stripped Medicaid Expansion out of their budget.
Newsletter - March 23, 2018
Tomorrow (Saturday, March 24), people all over the country will be marching to demand Congress finally pass meaningful reforms to prevent gun violence. The March for Our Lives, led by students from Parkland, Florida; from Northern Virginia; and from across the nation; will be all along Pennsylvania Avenue at noon tomorrow, with the main stage at 3rd Street Northwest.
Newsletter - March 14, 2018
Saturday afternoon, at precisely 1:54 p m,the Virginia General Assembly adjourned sine die (without a day set for resumption). And this year, we did it without agreement on the budget! Democrats refused to budge on Medicaid Expansion. We insist on doing it this year. We even persuaded our House Republican colleagues that it was better to spend $421 million on health care for Virginians than to give away that Virginia taxpayer money to the federal government. But, as of this writing, Senate Republicans remain firm against "ObamaCare." Therefore, no budget. As the budget cycle begins July 1, 2018, Governor Ralph Northam has called us into special session April 11, 2018 to reach agreement.
Newsletter - March 4, 2018
We have a big final week of session coming up. The two biggest issues to be resolved are whether we will have Medicaid Expansion and/or dedicated revenue for Metro.
Newsletter - February 24, 2018
Your hard work is paying off, but the fight isn’t over yet. The budget that passed the Senate this week still does not include Medicaid Expansion. Conferees from both chambers will have to negotiate the differences between their budgets to produce a result that we can all vote on. I'm increasingly optimistic that at least one Senate Republican will eventually support Medicaid Expansion and finally bring this desperately needed care to so many Virginians. But as this will be a major disagreement among budget conferees, I urge you to keep the pressure up. I join a large majority of colleagues in my commitment to making sure the final budget includes Medicaid Expansion. And I commit to you that I will not support any budget this year that does not include it.
Newsletter - February 18, 2018
This week marked the time in session known as "Crossover" which is when all business in one chamber stops so we may take up the business of the other chamber. Moving forward, we will be hearing and voting only on bills which originated in the Senate or House bills amended by the Senate.
Newsletter - February 11, 2018
Last week, reportedly upon direct orders from the Republican Leadership, the Virginia GOP once again killed all bills aimed at preventing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Virginians. My bill, HB 401, was the most comprehensive. It would have banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in housing, employment, public accommodations, public contracting, insurance, and banking. It would also have codified existing non-discrimination executive orders that protect Virginians from being discriminated against on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, pregnancy, age, marital status, disability, or status as a veteran. I have zero doubt that we shall overcome someday. And someday very soon. As soon as two more Democrats are elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, this bill will become law with solid majorities. The truth is even most Virginia Republicans support equality under the law. It's just a shame they elected a Leadership that has demanded Republicans keep unfair discrimination legal in Virginia.