Add another letter to the pile swapped lately between Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and Senate Democratic leaders.
Their testy and very public pen-pal relationship began in mid-February, when McDonnell wrote to Sens. Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) and A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico).
McDonnell asked them for a list of their demands for his $85 billion spending plan — then promptly shared his letter with the media without waiting for a response.
“[Y]our release of your letter without waiting even twenty-four hours for a response smacks of gamesmanship and not of an effort to resolve our differences,” Saslaw and McEachin wrote back.
Saslaw and McEachin wrote to the governor again this week, with a whopping $600 million wish list. On Friday, as the General Assembly decided to call a special session because it could not complete the budget by Saturday’s deadline, it was McDonnell’s turn to issue the annoyed response.
“On the one hand, I am appreciative of getting this letter in that it finally brings us to a point where we can examine differences of opinion over budget policy as opposed to your previous and ongoing focus on committee assignments,” McDonnell wrote, referring to their efforts to use the budget stalemate to win more Democratic committee power — one that McEachin said continued Friday. (“There are still discussions about committees,” McEachin told reporters.)
“On the other hand, I am very disappointed that you have delayed specifying the nature or composition of these issues until now,” McDonnell continued. “I have received them with just three days left before the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn Sine Die.”
McDonnell asks them to “follow up on what revenues you would raise or what other cuts you recommend to pay for the $605 million in new spending.”
Stay tuned for the next letter.