Power of Appropriations
4:22 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

GOP Preps for Battle

Virginia House Republicans are pulling out the big guns and preparing for a major battle with Governor Terry McAuliffe's plans to expand Medicaid on his own.

They asked the former Solicitor General who has argued more Supreme Court cases this century than another other lawyer to provide a legal analysis of McAuliffe’s options. 

As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, they are not saying a lawsuit is inevitable, they are telling the Governor he needs to tread carefully over the issue.

Speaker Bill Howell says they've known that the Governor may try to circumvent the legislature and unilaterally expand Medicaid—so Howell reached out to former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement. Howell asked him if the Governor has any legal standing to proceed without the General Assembly. Clement says he believes the state constitution makes it very clear that the Assembly has the power of appropriations—and nobody has unilateral authority.

Clement says McAuliffe may be looking at other states where a Governor has taken action on his own--but his analysis explains why Virginia is the exception.

Clement adds that the U.S. Supreme Court makes it clear that it is up to each state with its legal provisions--if they want to expand Medicaid.  GOP leaders say they cannot turn to Attorney General Mark Herring because he’s already sided with the Governor.

Clement's law firm is charging a $25,000 fee, which the House Clerk's office is paying.