Virginia lawmaker uses "tar baby" in speech about Medicaid debate

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Associated Press and 13News Now

Posted on March 20, 2014 at 8:36 AM

Updated Thursday, Mar 20 at 8:36 AM

RICHMOND (AP) -- There's still no sign of compromise between Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Republican leaders in the House of Delegates over whether Virginia should accept federal Medicaid funds in order to expanded health insurance coverage to as many as 400,000 residents.  

The two sides met Wednesday to discuss the upcoming special legislative session on March 24 and said there'd been no movement on the issue.

The impasse over Medicaid expansion led the General Assembly to adjourn earlier this month without passing a roughly $96 billion biannual budget. If the stalemate continues past July, it could lead to a state government shutdown.

McAuliffe wants to expand Medicaid eligibility, while House Republicans oppose it.

Meantime, Sen. Frank Ruff (R-15th D.) is taking some heat for using the term "tar baby" during a speech on the Medicaid debate to the Chamber of Commerce.

Ruff told the Virginian-Pilot he didn't mean anything racial by it, insisting he used the term to indicate it's a sticky situation.

Gov. McAuliffe (D-VA)said, "Oh, horrible comments. I know he's apologized, but there is no place in the debate that we are having today to be using that kind of language."

 

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