The Washington Post

Va. Senate rejects budget in party-line vote

In a party-line vote, the Virginia Senate on Thursday killed the last budget plan still alive in the General Assembly, dashing hopes that a state spending plan will be adopted before next week’s deadline.

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling could not break a tie vote on the budget. (Steve Helber/AP)

Bolling does not have authority to vote on the budget.

The budget plan died on two votes — 20-20 and 20-19 — on a pair of budget bills. The budget requires 21 votes to pass, so even the second vote — taken while Senate Minority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) had stepped out of the chamber to retrieve a bottle of water — did not constitute passage.

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) could still send down a a new budget, but observers said it was unlikely that a new plan could pass before legislators adjourn March 10.

The General Assembly has adjourned before without a budget, but legislators would have to return for a special session to adopt one before the new fiscal year begins July 1, Virginia Finance Secretary Richard D. Brown has said.

If lawmakers fail to adopt a plan by July 1, a partial government shutdown is likely.

Laura Vozzella covers Virginia politics for The Washington Post.



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