WHY GOVERNOR MCAULIFFE’S “LINE ITEM VETO” IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL

Because Delegate Rob Bell provides such an excellent explanation of why Governor McAuliffe “line item veto,” I decided to post his email too.

No You Can’t, Governor

Today Governor McAuliffe announced he would line item veto budget provisions that prohibit him from expanding Medicaid.

Here’s why the Governor can’t do what he wants.

Last week, the Assembly passed a budget that put a condition on Medicaid spending: “no general or nongeneral funds shall be appropriated or expended” to expand Medicaid under Obamacare until a vote by the General Assembly.  This condition is what Governor McAuliffe wants to veto.

However, in the Brault case, the Virginia Supreme Court explained that if a budget includes a spending item that comes with a condition, the condition cannot be separately vetoed.  To exercise his line item veto for these conditional budget items, a Governor must veto both the condition and the spending.

This makes sense: for a bill (like the budget) to become law, it is supposed to pass the House and Senate.  If a budget item passed the legislature with restrictions, then it didn’t pass on its own – it only passed with the restrictions on it.  If the Governor could strip out the conditions with a veto, it would leave behind a spending item that had never in fact passed the House and Senate.  To quote the U.S. Supreme Court, such a veto “would not be negation of an item or items of appropriation by veto but, in effect, affirmative legislation by executive edict.”

McAuliffe could veto the condition on Medicaid spending, but only if he also vetoed Medicaid spending itself.  This, obviously, is something he would never do, since his goal is to expand the program under Obamacare.

So what’s next?  On Monday, the General Assembly will meet and Governor McAuliffe’s veto can be ruled out of order, which means the veto will not be included in the final budget law.  Governor McAuliffe could then file action in court to force inclusion of his veto, and we would have to fight him in court.  To prevail, Governor McAuliffe would have to prove that he vetoed the condition and any spending it restricts.  Given the above court rulings, he should fail, and the budget restrictions on Medicaid should stand.

In short, his veto would be ruled unconstitutional.

Sincerely,

Rob Bell
Delegate, 58th District

3 thoughts on “WHY GOVERNOR MCAULIFFE’S “LINE ITEM VETO” IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL

  1. It sounds to me like VA politics is getting quite exciting now a days. With Eric Cantor gone and McAuliffe governor now the nation’s attention has been, and will be, on you guys for the next few years.

    Thanks Tom for keeping people informed on the different stands that the candidates take. I trust that the Lord’s grace and common sense will rule the day when everything is said and done in for 2016.

    Here in Ohio, people are saying that Kasich will run for President… if so, it will be interesting as well.

    Lord bless you!

    Like

    1. We have a tough challenge here in Virginia. We have proven we can nominate Conservative. Now we have to figure out how to get our Conservative nominees elected. Instead of helping, the RINOs usually undermine Conservative nominees. So we have to contend both against the Democrats and against people who are suppose to be on our side.

      I don’t know much about John Kasich. Supposedly, he was vocal opponent of ObamaCare. Nonetheless, Kasich expanded Medicaid rolls over the opposition of his GOP-controlled legislature. Since that expansion is unaffordable, he has created a time budget busting time bomb. That’s a bit hard to stomach.

      There is an old Chinese curse: “may you live in interesting times.” Well, these times are interesting. Fortunately, we have Jesus.

      May our Lord bless you and yours.

      Like

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