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With a deadline looming, state lawmakers still don't have an agreement on the budget


Members of Congress may be closer to resolving the conflict over the debt ceiling. But, members of the Virginia General Assembly are still at a standstill with their budget amendments.

When Tim Kaine was governor, members of the General Assembly went down to the wire with budget negotiations that resolved at the last possible minute – only a few hours before the new fiscal year began on July 1st.

Kaine's former chief of staff Bill Leighty details the experience in his new book, Capitol Secrets – explaining that the time crunch helped shape the contours of the deal.

"It influenced things greatly, especially from the perspective of the governor's use of the veto pen and amendments, because we know we couldn't amend or veto anything because it would require it to go back to committee in the House," Leighty says. "So we just had to sign the budget."

Now, the current governor is waiting for senior members of the money committees to send over their amendments to the current budget. Former Republican Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling says the current standoff is driven in part by the governor's presidential ambitions.

"As long as Governor Youngkin is talking about possibly being a presidential candidate in 2024, Democrats don't want to give him any victories that he can carry to Iowa or New Hampshire potentially and talk about what a great job he did in giving tax relief to the people of Virginia," Bolling explains.

Negotiations seem to have stalled for now, and no action is expected until after the primary on June 20th.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.