Like all Virginians, I have been closely watching the debacle in Washington unfold as our elected leaders let the government shutdown for the first time since 1996.
Let me be clear: I am firmly opposed to the government shutdown and believe both parties share in the responsibility for the fact that we’ve gotten to this unacceptable point. This is no way to run a government, especially as a superpower.
Too many hard working Virginians still face uncertainty as our economy struggles to recover. Right now, 175,000 Virginians are being directly impacted by this shutdown. As many of your readers know, I grew up in Northern Virginia and have raised my family here. I know many people who are personally affected by the shutdown.
But it’s also important to remember that people throughout the Commonwealth have also been affected by Washington’s failure. I’m referring to prison guards in Petersburg, FBI agents in Richmond, civilian workers at Fort Lee, and shipyard employees in Norfolk. I support legislation to ensure federal workers are paid during the shutdown, since through no fault of their own they were put in this situation. These Virginians are worried and fed up. They’re concerned about being able to provide for their families and put food on the table.
Too often politicians in both parties heap blame on the other side while our nation’s most pressing issues go unresolved. That is why I have also called on Members of Congress, the President, and his Cabinet to decline their pay during the shutdown. We are not seeing leadership out of Washington and their behavior will not move Virginia or our nation forward at a time when we must create jobs and expand opportunity. They should not be rewarded for their failure to lead.
Here in Virginia, Terry McAuliffe told The Washington Post that he “sided with Democrats who refuse to bargain.” Seriously? Not to even talk to the other side? That is no way to govern. That is no way to lead. And it is hurting Virginians.
As it relates to state government, since June of this year, Terry McAuliffe has repeatedly declared he would shut down state government by not signing Virginia’s budget if the General Assembly decided not to include the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion. In Virginia, if the Governor won’t sign a budget, that is a government shutdown.
By contrast, in 2006, when we appeared headed to a possible state government shutdown in Virginia, I was the state senator that put in the legislation that would keep Virginia funded into the next fiscal year, avoiding a government shutdown. So, in the Virginia Governor’s race, both candidates have a clear record when it comes to how we would handle the prospect of a Virginia government shutdown. Terry McAuliffe would shut down the government if he didn’t get his Medicaid expansion, and I would talk to the other side until we have resolved our differences.
There is no question McAuliffe will bring the same divisive tactics he has used in Washington to Richmond. McAuliffe has made a career of putting party first, and he would do no different as governor. At a time when Virginia faces serious issues, we need a governor who will sit down with both sides and forge solutions, not point fingers and assign blame.
It’s tactics like this that led The Washington Post to call my opponent a “Washington insider and a Virginia outsider.” If you like the way Washington is operating right now, Terry McAuliffe has promised to bring those same tactics to Richmond as Governor. For Virginia’s future, please vote for me on November 5th.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is the Republican candidate for Governor of Virginia.