Written on October 31, 2014 in News
Because Ebola can be spread by water droplets (generated by a sneeze or cough), according to a flyer which was compiled by the CDC, (see below) I think it is particularly important that Congress immediately act to restrict travel of those who live in or have visited Ebola-affected areas until Ebola has been eliminated
Since the President has refused to act, Congress must not be afraid to use its authority to protect the safety of the nurses and doctors, especially those in the ER’s, our dedicated first responders, other hospital patients who could be inadvertently exposed to Ebola, and everyone who may come in contact with someone infected with Ebola who may or may not exhibit symptoms at the time.
I want you to have information to keep you and your friends and relatives safe. Common sense dictates that temporarily preventing potential Ebola carriers into the country until Ebola has been contained is the most effective means to achieve this goal. We all greatly admire the doctors and other volunteers who have risked their lives to treat those suffering from this horrible disease, but it shows no less respect to insist that these public servants be prevented from contact with others during at least a 21-day quarantine period.
Until travel is restricted, we must depend on time consuming, expensive, less than reliable tracking of symptoms which may or may not be present in an Ebola carrier, exposed contacts, and their contacts. Unless “we the people” demand action from our elected leaders, nothing will change. Please call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121, ask to be collected with your two Senators and Congressman, and demand that they act to protect us!
Written on October 27, 2014 in News
Two colleagues and I sent a second letter to our Governor regarding his inaction in imposing quarantine measures at Dulles Airport and at the Port of Virginia.
There are five US Airports which accept commercial passengers whose travel originates in Ebola affected areas of West Africa. On Friday, the Governors of two states with two of those airports did impose quarantine policies. The Governor of Illinois did so on Saturday. That leaves Georgia and Virginia with “open borders” and no quarantine measures to protect the public from Ebola.
Because Barack Obama is not issuing travel bans on commercial flights with passengers originating from Ebola affected areas, quarantine measures are the only tool states have to impose on arriving passengers.
Only the United States and four West African nations have reported Ebola (Mali has one case.) Just think for a moment. If Barack Obama had issued a temporary travel ban from Sierra Leone, New Guinea and Liberia as numerous African nations have done to protect themselves from Ebola, unreliable self-reporting of Ebola risk would be replaced by reviewing passports which show which countries have been visited.
Had that happened, the United States would not have to equip every emergency room nurse with hazmat suits, would not have to decontaminate apartments, businesses, ambulances and airplanes, would not have to enforce mandatory quarantine of patients, would not have to fly Ebola-infected patients to the CDC in Atlanta or the NIH in Bethesda, would not have to set up Ebola-designated hospitals which make these facilities less attractive for patients suffering from other ailments, would not have to hire fever screeners for airports, would not be incurring increased health care costs by having to divert personnel and resources to do contact tracing, would not have caused unneeded stress to the general population over a disease that has no cure and an extremely high death rate, and nurses who are on the front lines of medical care would not be at risk of treating potential Ebola-infected patients.
Written on October 15, 2014 in News
In light of a reported thirteen African nations which have banned travel from Ebola prevalent areas to their countries, and reports of airlines which have suspended commercial flights to such areas, Delegate Robert G. “Bob” Marshall (R-13), Senator Richard Black (R-13) and Delegate Mark Berg, MD (R-29) sent a letter (see attached) urging Governor Terry McAuliffe to seek similar bans for Virginia’s airports and seaports.
The lawmakers wrote Governor McAuliffe:
“We strongly urge you to use the police powers of Virginia to protect our citizens and residents from exposure to Ebola even if it means a timely court challenge against passenger airlines or the federal government if they continue to permit entry into Virginia of passengers flying from Ebola affected areas. We also ask you to take similar measures to protect our seaports. Indeed, Government travel restrictions were used to limit Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).”
Written on September 17, 2014 in News
As Congress prepares to fund military action against ISIS or the Islamic State, America will also attempt to overthrow Syrian President Bashar in the process. The consequences of our overthrowing yet another Middle Eastern leader will cause another vacuum which I believe will simply empower radical Jihadists.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who may be criticized on other grounds, has not beheaded Americans or Israelis. Syria has been at peace with Israel since 1967. Syria has not engaged in hostile acts towards the U.S. Yet Syria may become another American military target while we fight ISIS.
Please ask your Congressman and two Senators to ensure that American military action is directed against ISIS and not the overthrow the Syrian president. The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote as early as today ((9/17/14) on a bill to fund the federal government through December 11, 2014 to avoid another federal government shutdown. Because this vote on military action is in the government funding resolution, Congress must vote up or down to both objects in the same bill.
The White House prefers to merge (called “logrolling”) the War Authority into the Government Funding bill, rather than vote on these items in separate measures. President Obama has already sent roughly 1600 men and women soldiers (our children, grandchildren, fathers, mothers, etc. – not merely “boots on the ground” ) to the Middle East promising no American ground fights against ISIS. The ground fights in Syria will be done by troops from the region such as the “Arab Spring” anti -Assad Free Syrian Army [FSA].
The President has failed to tell us that he has a wider agenda than action against ISIS: That is, a war against Syria, Russia’s ally:
“Colonel Riad al-Asaad, [of the Free Syrian Army] stressed that toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is their priority, and that they will not join forces with US-led efforts without a guarantee that the US is committed to his overthrow.
“’If they want to see the Free Syrian Army on their side, they should give assurances on toppling the Assad regime and on a plan including revolutionary principles.’
… Saying they had ‘long called for this action’, the coalition called on US politicians to authorize the training and equipping of the Free Syrian Army ‘as soon as possible’”. (Middle East Eye (9/13/14) at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/syria-1651994714
Language complying with the FSA request comes from Congressman McKeon (CA) for a wider war in the Middle East and will be attached to the government funding bill. The language authorizes the Secretaries of Defense and State,
“to provide assistance, including training, equipment, supplies, and sustainment, to appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition and other appropriately vetted Syrian groups and individuals for … Defending the Syrian people from attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) … securing territory controlled by the Syrian opposition. … Protecting the United States, its friends and allies, and the Syrian people from the threats posed by terrorists in Syria. (3) Promoting the conditions for a negotiated settlement to end the conflict in Syria.”
The last condition could include massive American bombing of Syrian government forces and civilian infrastructure such as power plants to bring Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the “bargaining table.”
The “allies” America will train to fight ISIS (and apparently the present Syrian government) will be trained in Saudi Arabia, home of the Wahhabi version of hard-line Islam and home of 15 of 19 of the September 11 hijackers. These fighters are, believe it or not, to be “appropriately vetted.” Senator McCain told Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dempsey, that is was not realistic to assume that the Free Syrian Army would only fight against ISIS, and not also the Assad government at a 9/16/14 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
The so-called Free Syrian Army has already been in close working alliances with al Nusra, al Quada and ISIS in fighting President Assad.
The New York Times (8/15/14) reported that rebel fighter, Abu al-Hassan
“… could not blame fighters for joining ISIS, which rebels said had beheaded a group of rival insurgents in a nearby town. ‘ISIS fighters didn’t come from Mars … Fifty percent of them are from here, Syrians, I know them personally. They left the F.S.A. [Free Syrian Army] after what they saw from corrupt commanders.’”
The Obama Administration has already been providing arms and training to Syrian “Arab Spring” rebels and their anti- Assad allies of all stripes. In March 2013, The New York Times reported,
“With help from the C.I.A., Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters in recent months, expanding a secret airlift of arms and equipment for the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad …
“American intelligence officers have helped the Arab governments shop for weapons, including a large procurement from Croatia, and have vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive …
“Most of the cargo flights have occurred since November, after the presidential election in the United States …
“‘A conservative estimate of the payload of these flights would be 3,500 tons of military equipment,’ said Hugh Griffiths, of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, who monitors illicit arms transfers.” (The New York Times, 3/24/13)
Another New York Times (4/28/13) headline reads, “Syrian rebel groups dominated by Islamists.” The Telegraph (3/25/11) reports that Mr. al-Hasidi, who recruited Libyans to fight coalition troops in Iraq, said,
“… his fighters ‘are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,’ but added that the ‘members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader.’”
The International Business Times (9/11/14) reported that beheaded American journalist James Foley, was handed over to ISIS by the “Dawood Bridgade … that was originally aligned with relatively moderate opposition groups such as the Free Syrian Army, but recently pledged allegiance to ISIS. The family of beheaded Steven Sotloff said their son was “sold” to ISIS for up to $50,000 by “the so-called moderate rebels that people want our administration to support.” (CNN 9/10/14)
Lastly, our 2011 NATO-aided Libya intervention, formally rebuked by the House of Representatives, left that country without a stable government. Now, eleven Libyan airliners have been stolen by Jihadists. Three planes could make it to Los Angeles from Burkina Faso. Almost all the rest are capable of flying from West Africa to Washington DC or to Norfolk where we berth aircraft carriers.
How can we possibly “vet” such rebel fighters under wartime conditions where alliances are constantly shifting? Was the Fort Hood Jihadist properly “vetted?” The fog of war makes prudential judgment difficult enough without additional complicating elements present in the Middle East. We must concentrate on destroying ISIS, rather than another government overthrow could result in more radical leaders taking control of power in Syria.
ISIS, or the “Islamist State” has been making converts from the so-called “moderates.” Conversions are not happening the other way around. The latest CIA estimate upped the number of ISIS fighters from 10,000 to between 20,000 and 31,500. The CNN Report on CIA figures concluded,
“More than 15,000 foreign fighters, including 2,000 Westerners, have gone to Syria … The fighters come from more than 80 countries …” (CNN 9/11/14)
Israel will now have to worry about Congress training and arming additional Syrian “rebels.”
“The violence on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights is a new reality. For the past 40 years, the region has been the quietest of Israel’s front lines. … a weaker Syrian government provides less resistance to the militants encroaching on its borders. …
“… The fact that a Syrian UAV was allowed to enter the demilitarized zone is something that would have been impossible until a few months ago,” said Nisman.” (Middle East Eye, 9/12/14, see http://www.middleeasteye.net/in-depth/features/golan-unrest-spells-new-militants-israels-syria-borders-1053014275
Apparently, quite a few ISIS terrorists have slipped through the CIA vetting process! Yes, we must destroy ISIS, but making the Assad government a co-target with ISIS is not in the interest of lasting peace in the region.
Given Syria’s close alliance with Russia, the ferocity and fervor of ISIS troops which claim murder is their religious duty, the world-wide recruitment of Jihadists to fight against the Infidel, it is no wonder that Pope Francis, apparently the subject of an assassination threat by ISIS, recently lamented while standing next to tombstones of Italian soldiers killed in World War I, that a piecemeal “third world war,” is emerging from Middle East and Eastern Europe conflicts. (The Pope has nevertheless stated, speaking in the context of ISIS attacks, that force can be used to stop “unjust aggression.”)
America’s Founders, when faced with the prospect of war with Great Britain, publicly proclaimed their “firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence.” We must do the same.
Please phone, email or fax your Congressman, Senators Kaine and Warner (contact info here) and urge them to not link America’s effort to destroy ISIS with the overthrow of the Syrian government since Syria has not taken hostile action against the United States or Israel.
Written on September 8, 2014 in News
On Saturday I sent the letter below to Archbishop Vigano with regard to the statment Cardinal Dolan of New York gave in support of a Gay Rights Group being included in the 2015 New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This parade is a Catholic event and I am disheartened to hear that Cardinal Dolan would support a position contrary to that of the church in this situation.
Written on July 22, 2014 in News
Between October, 2013 and May, 2014 more than 47,000 unaccompanied minors, mostly Central Americans, crossed our border without authorization and over 100,000 more are expected by the end of the year. Unlike illegal entrants from Mexico or Canada who can be legally deported immediately by our Border Patrol without a hearing, persons from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, etc. must be given a hearing before deportation under a Bush-era law.
Foreign Governments Undermine US Immigration Law
The presidents of Mexico and Guatemala have agreed to expedite safe and assisted 72 hour passage for even more unaccompanied minors and adults to travel across Mexico so they may illegally enter the U.S
Reuters News reported (6/20/14) that an aide to the president of Honduras stated at a meeting in Guatemala City attended by Vice President Biden, that, “…‘As long as (U.S.) immigration reform is not approved, the exodus of children to the United States will continue,’ Jorge Ramon Hernandez, the senior representative of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, said at the talks.”
Obama Administration Non-Response
Rather than increase Border Patrol or establish National Guard presence on our 1900 mile border with Mexico, (as Texas Governor Rick Perry is now doing) the Obama Administration is preparing for long term stays by illegal entrants and is seeking to house growing numbers of unauthorized immigrants in upscale hotels across the U.S. through contracts to various church groups and non-profits.
The Buffalo, New York News (7/14/14) reported that federal agents showed up unannounced in Grand Island New York “at what they thought was a vacant hotel that might be able to house children who entered the country illegally…The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and General Services Administration will be conducting an initial assessment of Lexington Commerce Center in Rochester, NY…and the Byblos Niagara Resort in Grand Island, NY…to determine whether it may be used as a facility for temporarily housing children who have come into the United States from other countries without an adult guardian …”
The San Jose Mercury-News (7-29-24) reports, “Along with dealing with the flood of children traveling alone, the Border Patrol has also arrested more than 55,000 people traveling as families, mostly mothers with young children. Because of a lack of detention space many of those people have been released with a notice to report back to immigration authorities at a later date. The Obama administration has repeatedly declined to say how many people have been released and how many have reported as ordered.”
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick disclosed (7/18/14) that he had been approached by the Obama Administration for assistance. “A few weeks ago, the Regional Office of HHS asked us (and several other states) whether we could and would temporarily shelter some of these children while they are processed under our law for deportation or for reuniting with their families in the States. The request was for up 90,000 square feet of space to use for up to 4 months to accommodate up to 1,000 stranded children. The types of facilities sought by HHS and FEMA ranged from military bases to unused shopping malls.”
And the Christian Science Monitor notes, (6/6/14) “ The border patrol … estimates project 90,000 so-called unaccompanied children will try to cross this year and as many as 165,000 will try in 2015 (up from about 13,000 in 2012 and 24,000 in 2013). Overall, illegal immigration from Central America is now inching toward 180,000 people a year … Children are about 10 percent of that flow, and as many as 70 percent of those children are unaccompanied … Many of the children are 12 and older, and most are boys … .”
The Obama Administration is seeking to house these persons for months and months since deportation hearings cannot be held for this volume of illegal entrants with the present number of Administrative Law Judges [ALJ].
Texas Democrat Congressman Henry Cuellar, who has been critical of Obama’s immigration policy, “believes many of the immigrants will never go home. ‘If you’re a pregnant woman, or you’re a family unit, they’re gonna give you a piece of paper where you promise to show up in 90 days … And I tell you, they’re not going to show up in 90 days. No way.’” [Fox News 6/14/14]
US Customs officials in Texas were simply handing out bus tickets to illegal entrants and telling them to appear in 90 days. Without more ALJs, presence in the United States by the unauthorized will continue indefinitely, and deportation will become more and more difficult.
I believe we can and must eliminate Obama’s last excuse for continuing his Trojan Horse immigration policies and counteract Congress’ timidity and gridlock.
I wrote Governor McAuliffe urging him to identify Virginians who are qualified to act as Administrative Law Judges (magistrates, retired or substitute state judges, members of the Virginia Bar) to assist ICE in quickly determining the status of those who illegally entered the U.S. through our southern border. This is important because many who arrive hope that the federal delays become de facto legal status or at least allow stays of several years.
I also asked two Congressmen for documents from our State Department regarding the true number of actual refugee applications our Central American embassies have received. In the past year, Virginia relocated approximately 2,100 persons determined to be bona fide refugees by our foreign embassies from countries worldwide.
ACTION ITEM # 1
Please contact Governor McAuliffe and urge him to identify qualified individuals in Virginia (retired or substitute judges, magistrates, attorneys) to help serve as Administrative Law Judges to clear the backlog of deportation hearings. Virginia judges with local roots in the community are more likely to administer federal asylum laws and regulations fairly and without undo influence from the Obama Administration than invisible administrators hired by Washington.
Also, urge Governor McAuliffe to ask fellow Governors to do the same in their states.
A More Permanent Solution
Admittedly, this is a temporary solution to handle persons already here illegally. Securing our southern border is necessary to our national security. The Obama Administration testified on July 22, 2010 before a House of Representatives Subcommittee:
“…the southwest border region is the principal entry point for smuggled aliens from Mexico, Central America, and South America. Aliens from countries of special interest to the United States such as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan (known as special interest aliens) also illegally enter the United States through the region…Mexican drug trafficking organizations have become increasingly involved in alien smuggling. These organizations collect fees from alien smuggling organizations for the use of specific smuggling routes…Mexican drug trafficking organizations specialize in smuggling special-interest aliens into the United States…Communities across the country are at risk since among those individuals illegally crossing the border of criminal aliens and gang members who pose public safety concerns for communities throughout the country.’ (GAO report, 10-919T, “Alien Smuggling, etc.” July 22, 2010, testimony of Richard Stana, Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues to a U.S. House of Representative Subcommittee.)
ACTION ITEM # 2 – State Construction of a Security Fence
Please contact the Governors of the Border States with Mexico, and ask them to build National Security fences in their states just as Israel did to significantly reduce terrorist incursions. If you have friends living in these states please urge them to contact their governors as well. I wrote all four border state governors in 2010 urging them do this since Congress has not done so. Unfortunately, none wrote back.
Had such construction been undertaken, we might not be facing this present immigration crisis or at least not on this scale. Congress has not followed through on protecting us with a secure Border Fence. Border state governors and their legislatures should set up tax exempt foundations to receive donations for fence construction from citizens throughout the country who are disgusted with an incompetent Congress and indifferent President.
You can contact the Governors of the Border States by going to the links below:
Governor of Texas
Governor of New Mexico
Governor of Arizona
Governor of California
Dangers to the Community and to Unaccompanied Minors
As a father and grandfather, it greatly concerns me that parents having difficulty supporting their children would be willing to send their children away. However, our emotional reaction must not substitute for prudential judgment.
Immigration officials are clearly overwhelmed by the numbers of background checks they must do to prevent gang members and terrorists from crossing our southern border. Furthermore, if children can so easily illegally enter the USA, so can terrorists.
Overwhelmed federal officials could also allow minors to be “claimed” by individuals who could exploit them in prostitution, drug activities or slave wage jobs. How many will be recruited by gangs? How many gang members are coming in to the US? Who verifies that parents actually arranged for their children to leave home?
ACTION ITEM # 3
Please contact your congressman and urge him to take action to secure our borders and also to change the 2008 law prohibiting immediate deportation of persons.
Obama Administrations Actions
This Administration calls the influx a new crisis. But they have been soliciting contractors to feed and house tens of thousands of undocumented children for some time. In FY 2014, the Obama Administration has awarded $644,188,522 to pay for UAC’s; $305,865,613 in FY 2013; $215,484,312 in FY 2012; $136,179,511 in FY 2011; $122,163,535 in FT 2010; and $94,700,534 in FY 2009.
The Washington Times (5/14/14) cites documentation compiled by the Center for Immigration Studies that in 2013 Obama’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials freed 36,007 convicted criminal aliens (felonies and misdemeanors) from jail who were awaiting the outcome of deportation proceedings. They had accumulated nearly 88,000 convictions.
Religious Service Groups Targeted
Yesterday, President Obama, with Governor Terry McAuliffe and numerous LGBT activists standing by his side in the White House, signed an executive order (7/21/14) claiming vague authority under the US Constitution, to require all federal contractors and sub-contractors to hire applicants regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Obama had been asked by Faith groups, including many of his supporters, to provide an exemption for religious groups. Obama, in a stunning display of intolerance, defied them to side with activists who will now be able to initiate workplace law suits against church-based agencies.
The implementation of Obama’s immigration policies depends greatly on the co-operation of religious organizations which have received literally hundreds of millions in federal dollars for refugee resettlement and services. Now that the Federal Government has all these contracts with religious agencies they are going to force them to violate their religious beliefs in their hiring practices. Will Obama, if religious leaders balk, back away from his executive order? Will religious leaders choose to accept this assault on their Faith or morals and continue accepting federal dollars?
I was reliably informed a few years ago about a woman working in a cleaning crew in a Manassas building. She did not come to America legally, and she was extorted to have sex with her supervisor who threatened to turn her over to authorities. The victim refused to report this to authorities. How many of these children will be the victims of human traffickers or other people looking to exploit them in this same way?
If we really care about children we would not want harm to come to them. Facilitating the present lawless entry is harmful. Thank you for caring about children and the security of our homes, communities and nation.
Delegate Bob Marshall
Written on July 16, 2014 in News
I have been working to gather more information from State and Federal sources since before word broke last week that the Youth for Tomorrow (YFT) facility right outside my district, in Bristow, VA, might be housing Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) and the possibility of more being relocated to the National Guard Armory at the Prince William Fairgrounds. I have confirmed that there have been UAC being housed at the YFT facility for approximately a year and that there are contracts for more to be brought there. I have not obtained any information that would indicate that more UAC will be brought to the Armory.
I have been informed that no direct state funds are being used to house or care for these UAC but Medicaid funds are used for the clinics seeing these kids in Prince William County and YFT is receiving your Federal tax dollars to house and care for these children. Not to mention that over half of the beds at YFT that should be set aside for troubled teens from Northern Virginia are now being used by UAC.
I have very serious concerns about the lack of transparency by the Federal and State government in this situation. Local officials should have been notified that UAC were being relocated to YFT and there have been conflicting reports as to whether or not this was done. I will be continuing to look into what particular tax resources are being used to care for these children and to look into what is being done to stem potential health concerns such as the possibility of communicable diseases being transmitted by these UAC from the camps along the border.
Additionally, in order to try to help with this crisis, today I sent a letter to Governor McAuliffe (see below) asking him to identify Virginia citizens such as former or substitute judges who could be appointed to assist the overwhelmed Federal Immigration hearing officers dealing with the massive influx of illegal immigrants coming through the Southern border.
The President has said that all of the Unaccompanied Alien Children and other illegal immigrants coming over the Southern border will be deported. Unfortunately, the Immigration system is overwhelmed. Because all illegal aliens coming into the U.S. from countries other than Mexico and Canada are required to have an administrative hearing prior to deportation proceedings it is imperative that we get a system in place to assist the Federal Government with these hearings so we don’t end up with a de facto legal status for these individuals simply due to delays. I’m asking that Governor McAuliffe identify former/substitute judges, magistrates and qualified attorneys to act as administrative law judges or immigration adjudicators to assist in the hearings for any UACs or other illegal immigrants relocated to Virginia from the camps near the Southern border. I am hopeful that timely processing of these cases will be a deterrent for others considering violating our immigration laws.
Please contact Governor McAuliffe and ask him to take this step and any others that would assist in the processing of these cases in a timely manner. You can contact him at 804-786-2211 or through his website.
Thank you for your help!
Delegate Bob Marshall
Written on May 15, 2014 in Press Releases
Manassas, VA - Today, I have introduced two resolutions in the Virginia House of Delegates directing the two Standing Committees of that body with jurisdiction over such matters to make inquiry into whether certain actions of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring constitute impeachable offenses under Article IV, Section 17 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
I take this step reluctantly, fully mindful of the seriousness of this action. Impeachment is one of the most serious powers conferred upon the House of Delegates. However, Mr. Herring has ignored all requests to conform his actions to Virginia’s Constitution and our statutes, as well as engaging in a series of deliberate acts which force the filing of these resolutions. Read more
Written on March 26, 2014 in News
Five of my amendments to the budget passed on Tuesday, and I thank you for all your calls and emails! Because the Senate recessed until April 7, the budget impasse continues.
On Tuesday, March 25th, delegates were presented with printed versions of two budgets: HB 5001, amending state spending through June 30, 2014 and HB 5002, funding Virginia’s government from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2016.
These two documents were 800 plus pages in ten point type on letter size paper! We had roughly one and a half hours to review HB 5001 before we voted, and three hours to examine HB 5002 and draft amendments to sections of the budget. This made it difficult to complete a thorough and accurate review!
As a result, while I initially voted for HB 5001, I continued to study the massive bill after the vote. Delegate Mark Berg and I found provisions related to Medicaid “Reform” and other vague language related to Medicaid expansion, so, while I was initially recorded as a “yes” vote, I determined that I should file a “no” vote afterwards for the public record as did Delegate Mark Berg who also continued to digest the contents of HB 5001 after initial passage.
I also offered a floor amendment to the two year budget (HB 5002) to restrict Virginia’s Medicaid agency from writing regulations which they are required to do by the Obama Administration for current Medicaid recipients in such a way as to add new recipients. I wanted to close this loophole and I succeeded (with your help!) My amendment passed 68-31.
Language contained in HB 5002 limited any Medicaid expansion to theoretically end on June 30, 2016 giving the false impression that Virginia could unilaterally back out of Medicaid expansion after a two-year pilot program.
Because there are no provisions in the Obamacare regulations promulgated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or any actions by the President to provide for a provisional expansion of Medicaid, I successfully amended the bill by striking this language. My second amendment passed 68-31.
There are two ways that Medicaid expansion can be funded in the current budget. One is a provision by which the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission (MIRC) announces that all reforms have been completed and once they certify it, Medicaid expansion is funded. The second way Medicaid expansion can be funded is through the use of general appropriations language directing how excess funds are to be spent, even in cases where such language was not originally inserted in the budget to specifically provide funding for Medicaid expansion.
However, I was advised by legal counsel twenty minutes before the session that the effect of my amendment to remove the first provision might allow the Governor to use the second approach to fund Medicaid, even though the language was not specific to Medicaid expansion. Therefore, I withdrew my third amendment striking the MIRC funding provision. By leaving the MIRC funding language provision in the budget (for now) Governor McAuliffe is precluded from funding Medicaid expansion on his own through the use of excess funds.
Last year I voted against the budget because it contained similar provisions authorizing MIRC to “reform” Medicaid as a pre-condition of expanding it. That made it a poison pill for me then, and it remains so now.
As a result of all this, I voted “no” on final passage of HB 5002 because the so-called Medicaid “reform” commission was still in the budget. I filed the following statement which will appear in the House Journal explaining my “no” vote on HB 5002.
“I object to vesting the 10 member Medicaid Commission with ostensible authority to authorize the appropriation of funds to implement, for however long, an expansion of Medicaid, which I believe violates the Constitution of Virginia as an improper delegation of authority to a subset of the General Assembly.”
In other matters relating to the budget, several of my non-Medicaid amendments had been previously adopted and were already in the budget to prevent any state funding for Planned Parenthood, abortions of disabled children or any efforts by Governor McAuliffe to suspend or modify Virginia’s abortion clinic regulations.
Again, I am grateful for your efforts to contact members of the House of Delegates to support my amendments on your behalf. As the Senate has not acted on either budget, the budget impasse continues, so please continue to call and write your representatives.
Delegate Bob Marshall
Written on March 5, 2014 in News, Videos
Last fall, Governor Terry McAuliffe said the threat of a government shutdown shouldn’t be used as a bargaining chip in negotiations over the health care law. Now, he and the Democrats in the Virginia Senate are holding Virginia’s budget hostage to Obamacare, threatening to hold up funding for our teachers, schools, firefighters, police officers and local governments. This is wrong! Virginia should pass a clean budget with no strings attached. The debate for expanding Medicaid under Obamacare should be a separate issue.
I urge you to contact Governor McAuliffe, your Senator and your Delegate to ask them to stop holding the budget hostage to Medicaid expansion. If you don’t know who your Senator is you can find out here.
Medicaid Expansion PPP 2/24/14 from Bob Marshall on Vimeo.
The Medicaid expansion has been touted as a way to get “free” money to help underserved Virginians. We all know there is no such thing as a free lunch. Accepting whatever Federal taxpayer funds Virginia would receive would only be for a maximum of 3 years and then Virginia would be required to take up the slack to the tune of billions of dollars. The federal government is hemorrhaging money and even if I thought expansion of Medicaid were a good idea I do not believe adding to our national debt is in the best interest of any Virginian.
Medicaid is already the largest expenditure that Virginia has in its budget. If we were to take on the additional costs associated with this expansion taxes would have to be raised and reductions would have to be made to important programs like transportation, education and many others.
Some Democrats have insisted that if the Federal government were to stop paying their share of the funding for expansion that Virginia is always free to back out. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is no provision in the Obamacare law or in the regulations promulgated since then that would allow any state to back out of this contract.
In addition to all of this Medicaid is currently riddled with fraud. Last year Virginia Democrats agreed to defer any action with regard to Medicaid expansion until action was taken by the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission and now they are going back on that pledge. States that have undertaken reforms have found millions of dollars in fraud. If we fix the broken system there will be additional funds to help those who actually need it without expansion or taking on this additional burden for Virginia taxpayers.
Please contact Governor McAuliffe, your Senator and Delegate to urge them not to support Medicaid expansion in the budget!