- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Two-day showdown ends tortuous Va. budget standoff
Senator wrestled with decision to break ranks
Question of the Day
Gov. Bob McDonnell met privately Tuesday with Charles J. Colgan, the longtime Democratic senator who had the power to break a 38-day impasse over the state’s two-year $85 billion budget. He had a simple question.
What do you want from me? Mr. McDonnell asked.
Mr. Colgan, the 85-year-old 10-term Prince William Democrat, had served on the conference committee charged with reconciling the House and Senate versions of the budget. He had been vague on whether he would vote for the plan, which had been held up over his party’s demand for an additional $300 million for the Dulles rail project. But he had stressed the importance of avoiding a protracted standoff. Mr. Colgan said an assurance from the Republican governor that he was committed to rail-to-Dulles would be enough.
Mr. McDonnell obliged. He put it in writing in a letter on Tuesday.
OK, Mr. Colgan said. And he left the meeting prepared to vote for the budget.
By the end of the next day, however, Mr. Colgan changed his mind not once but twice, helping create what one lawmaker called a “legislative vertigo that is not going to dissipate anytime soon” and capping a session already made acrimonious from power struggles and votes on social issues that had laid bare the partisan rifts in the historically genteel chamber.
An apparent victory
Senate Minority Leader Richard L. Saslaw of Fairfax and Caucus Chairman A. Donald McEachin of Henrico met individually with Mr. McDonnell in his office around midday Tuesday. They, too, saw Mr. McDonnell’s letter, but they didn’t like its “testy” tone. Enraged, they aired their views in a closed-door caucus meeting. Mr. Colgan informed his party of his intention to vote for the budget. It did not go over well.
By just after 5:30 p.m. when a vote was taken, Democrats had held the line. Mr. Colgan joined them and the budget failed to get the necessary 21 votes to pass.
At that point, it was Republicans’ turn to be angry.
“He’s a wonderful man, but let me tell you, when you are 85 years old and a statesman in Virginia and Dick Saslaw decides that he’s going to give you some serious kidney punches over and over and over, then perhaps you cannot resist,” he fumed.
State employees’ paychecks were at risk. Local governments, in the midst of crafting their own budgets, were in limbo. Transportation projects might be stalled or shut down, the GOP said.
After the vote, a victorious but clearly weary Mr. Saslaw, flanked by Democratic colleagues in their caucus room, said they weren’t going to be talking to the governor that night. Or in the morning.
“It’s not going to happen tomorrow,” he boldly declared.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Sherfinski covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.
- Williams: First lady didn't discuss her relationship with husband
- Williams: Maureen McDonnell's high-dollar requests seemed excessive
- Trips, loans for McDonnell family detailed at trial
- Star witness in Bob McDonnell corruption trial refutes 'crush' defense
- Defense lawyer: McDonnell's wife had 'crush' on CEO
Latest Blog Entries
- Dick Cheney: Hillary Clinton 'clearly bears responsibility' on Benghazi
- Holder vows to press ahead on gun control fight
- Seven of 10 prefer that Obama work with Congress, not go around it: Poll
- Schumer: Tea party hasn't let Obama put his policies into effect
- GOP official: Black not running for Wolf's House seat
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- House GOP resurrects border bill, predicts successful Friday vote
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- ON THE RUN: Competition for Redskins backup running back is heating up
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors