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Politics as Usual Leaves Little Room for Cooperation

House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem) said the House leadership has a basic lack of faith in dealing with Warner.

"At some point, we're going to have to bring it to a head and say you can't keep doing this stuff," Griffith said.

_____Va. Government_____
Longtime Va. Delegate Collapses (The Washington Post, Oct 6, 2004)
Howell Creates Think Tank to Foster His Agenda (The Washington Post, Sep 16, 2004)
Posters Target GOP Tax Backers (The Washington Post, Sep 15, 2004)
More Government News

There is one bright spot on the horizon: Warner and House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford), who rarely spoke during the 2004 General Assembly session, had lunch together last week.

Word has it the lunch was cordial and that the two most powerful politicians in Virginia might now appreciate that continued rancor threatens any progress on funding for transportation and higher education.

Warner was able to work around Howell in 2004 by creating a coalition of Democrats, Senate Republicans and, ultimately, a group of moderate House Republicans who broke with their leadership on the tax issue.

But there's little indication Warner can assemble that coalition at will for other issues.

And it's doubtful that Howell wants to be cast in the role of naysayer again, just before his members face voters at the polls next year.

The election might indeed be the deciding factor.

Will it bring House Republican leaders and Warner together in the interest of showing voters they can get something done? Or will it force them further apart as they draw lines in the sand to help define the election?

The latter is a good bet. But we won't know until February, when (we hope) the 2005 session ends.

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