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Gov. Bob McDonnell said that a shutdown over Obamacare "is not the way to go."
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
RICHMOND — State officials are making contingency plans in the event that gridlock over spending in Washington forces a federal government shutdown.
Gov. Bob McDonnell on Tuesday expressed disappointment with the latest battle over funding the government after Sept. 30, and said on WTOP radio that a shutdown “is not the right way to go.”
The GOP-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed a spending bill to continue the funding but it would also defund President Barack Obama’s health care law. It’s not expected to be successful in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
“We can’t hold federal workers and the federal government hostage with that,” McDonnell said. “I think the government shutdown is not the right way to go.”
Meanwhile, leaders of this defense-heavy state are making preparations in the event that Oct. 1 rolls around without a deal on funding the government.
Martin Kent, McDonnell’s chief of staff, issued a memo Tuesday to executive branch agency heads, presidents of colleges and universities and others, outlining the general policy of the state.
He writes that agencies should not incur expenses against federal programs or grants after Oct. 4 unless the expenditures will be reimbursed from federal programs not affected by the Oct. 1 deadline.
Some federal programs, such as Medicaid, are considered essential and are not likely to be affected.
Kent says agencies may keep federally funded state employees who may be affected on the payroll until Oct. 4 “in order to prevent unnecessary furloughs so long as the agency can absorb the costs.”
He outlines steps agencies can take to extend funding beyond Oct. 4 if the agency confirms it will be reimbursed and the agency can absorb the temporary funding.
The timing of the fiscal wrangling is particularly inopportune for Virginia, which is beginning to craft its budget.
McDonnell said on the radio that he’s no fan of Obamacare, calling it a “bad policy,” but said that “at this point it is the law and we are going to implement it in a way that is least offensive and harmful to the state of Virginia.”
He said the law over time could collapse under its own weight, but “I don’t think we should shut government down over this. We need to keep fighting through the process.”
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