Republican Speaker of the House of Delegates Bill Howell and the state Senate’s Republican Majority Leader Tom Norment say Tuesday’s election of Ben Chafin to the Senate, solidifying the GOP’s control of the upper chamber, will bring stability and predictability to the General Assembly. The win will give the GOP a decisive majority in the Senate, barring unforeseen circumstances until at least January of 2016.
Norment says GOP control will help the legislature avoid the prolonged budget standoffs over contentious issues like Medicaid expansion that have occurred over the past two sessions. He says the General Assembly must now begin the hard work of dealing with the current unanticipated $2.4 budget shortfall, attributed largely to federal defense cuts.
Norment and Howell say it’s too early to determine what kind of cuts the legislature should make in response.