July 12, 2012 Executive BulletinSenator Yvonne Miller, Health care reform update and political news
REMEMBERING SENATOR YVONNE MILLER
The first African American woman to serve in both chambers of the General Assembly, Senator Yvonne Miller passed away one day before what would have been her seventy-eighth birthday in Norfolk. A former elementary school teacher and Norfolk State University professor, “Miller proved steadfast in her convictions, burnishing a reputation for focusing on issues that improved the lives of the poor and the infirm, and ensuring equal opportunities for minorities…She knew what she stood for, and she was willing to fight for it, even against steep odds. And she commanded deep respect from members on either side of the aisle.”
CLICK HERE for the Virginian-Pilot’s editorial tribute to Senator Miller
CLICK HERE for Virginian-Pilot columnist Roger Chesley’s tribute to Senator Miller
TEXAS CLAIMS TOP STATE FOR BUSINESS RANKING
From The Virginian-Pilot: Virginia fell from the top spot to No. 3 in CNBC's annual ranking of "America's top states for business,” released Tuesday. Texas came in first and Utah second. Virginia narrowly edged out North Carolina, which was No. 4.
Virginia also had been No. 1 in 2007 and 2009. It fell this year partly because it has “some of the country's toughest commutes,” CNBC said. “Infrastructure - specifically the state's perpetually clogged highways - has long been an issue in fast-growing Virginia, and there is fresh evidence this year that the state is having trouble keeping pace.
In transportation, its rank sank to 33rd from 10th. The state won high ratings in "business friendliness" (No. 3) and workforce (8).
HEALTH CARE UPDATE
Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act, some have called for a special session of the General Assembly to create a state health care exchange. Governor Bob McDonnell believes that would be premature and not a good use of tax payer dollars. “Based on events still to come, and ongoing changes in guidance from the federal government regarding the timeline for any state action, the governor does not believe there is a need to call a special session,” said Tucker Martin, McDonnell’s Communications Director, following the high court’s ruling. The insurance industry is reacting differently. On Monday, health care giant Wellpoint announced a deal to purchase its rival and Virginia-based Amerigroup Corp for $4.46 billion, which would nearly double its Medicaid busines.
On Tuesday, Governor McDonnell sent a letter to members of the General Assembly indicating his hope that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be repealed after the November election, and that he is considering having Virginia opt out of the law's Medicaid expansion provision.
CLICK HERE to read the reaction from Virginia’s political leaders
CLICK HERE for coverage on Wellpoint’s deal to buy Amerigroup
JUNE JOBS REPORT
The Department of Labor announced last Friday that the U.S. economy added 80,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate remained at 8.2 percent. With no significant improvement in the numbers, some economists have little hope the downward trend will change before the election. “This economy has no forward momentum and little help from monetary or fiscal policy,” says Kathy Bostjancic, director of macroeconomic analysis for the Conference Board. “As if that were not enough, ill winds are blowing in from both a contracting Europe and slowing growth in emerging markets.”
CLICK HERE for New York Times coverage on how the numbers will impact the presidential election
CLICK HERE to read the reaction from national leaders
CLICK HERE for video on Mitt Romney’s response that the numbers are a “kick in the gut"
CBO SAYS DEBT TO EXCEED 70 PERCENT
The nation’s federal debt is projected to reach 73 percent of GDP this year, almost double that of 2008, according to the Congressional Budget Office. “The sharp rise in debt stems partly from lower tax revenues and higher federal spending caused by the severe economic downturn and from policies enacted during the past few years," the CBO said in its 2012 Long-Term Budget Outlook. Analyzing two policy scenarios, the CBO also projects that, “debt as a share of GDP would exceed its historical peak of 109 percent by 2026, and it would approach 200 percent in 2037.”
NATIONAL POLITICAL NEWS
UVA Center for Politics Professor Larry Sabato believes now that Mitt Romney’s pic for vice president need not be “a big-name, attention-grabbing running mate to help him win this race. He just needs someone who won’t cause him headaches.” Sabato includes Ohio Senator Rob Portman, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, South Dakota Senator John Thune, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan and Florida Senator Marco Rubio in his first tier of picks. The National Journal also places Portman, Jindal, Rubio, Ryan and Pawlenty in its top five list. As of today, both Sabato and the National Journal have Portman in first place for the VP slot.
TAX PLEDGE BEGINS TO LOSE LUSTER
>From The Kiplinger Letter: “Look for a drop in the number of GOPers willing to sign a no-tax-hike pledge. That doesn’t mean they’ll rush out and embrace tax increases. Far from it. But a growing number of candidates and officeholders see the pledge as bad politics and bad economic policy. Some leading GOPers characterize it as handcuffs of a sort, making it difficult to round up votes at times when increased revenue is necessary. The pledge won’t die quickly. Lawmakers who don’t sign, or who break it, are threatened, often by tea party candidates, with expensive and difficult primaries. Former GOP Sen. Alan Simpson (WY) says such threats amount to political blackmail. He’s coauthor of a report that says spending cuts and revenue hikes are the only way for the U.S. to trim debt to acceptable levels. He’s been roundly criticized for that view.”
NATIONAL CAMPAIGN SPENDING
PRESIDENTIAL ADVERTISING COMPARISON
Presidential campaign advertising since the spring has reached $200 million, with $15 million of that spent last week alone. Here’s the total breakdown:
- Obama $94.4 million
- Crossroads GPS $24.4 million
- Romney $22.8 million
- Americans for Prosperity $13.6 million
- Restore Our Future $11.5 million
- Priorities USA $10.4 million
- Concerned Women of America $4.8 million
- American Future Fund $4.5 million
- American Energy Alliance $3.2 million
- SEIU/Priorities $2.5 million
- Planned Parenthood $1.4 million
- Priorities/League of Conservation Voters $980k
UNLIMITED CAMPAIGN MONEY LIKELY TO CONTINUE
>From The Kiplinger Letter: “As long as conservatives maintain the majority on the U.S. Supreme Court...Unlimited political contributions will stay in place as the law of the land. A 2011 Mont. Supreme Court ruling that challenged the high court’s decision in the Citizens United case will be followed by other bids to restore donation limits. Five votes for an unfettered system remain solid: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Anthony Kennedy. So look for 5-4 votes or even summary judgments without votes to uphold the case that fueled the rise of so-called super PACs, which run ads on behalf of candidates. This year, deep-pocketed backers have given those PACs tens of millions of dollars.”
VIRGINIA POLITICAL NEWS
LINGAMFELTER ANNOUNCES BID FOR LT. GOVERNOR
Delegate Scott Lingamfelter enters an already-crowded field of contenders jockeying for the Lt. Governor spot on the GOP’s ticket next year. With announced candidates Jeannemarie Devolites Davis, Senator Steve Martin, and Prince William County Chairman Corey Stewart, along with a few other potentials, including Keith Fimian and Pete Snyder, Lingamfelter faces stiff competition from a Northern Virginia-dominated crop of candidates. Meanwhile Democrats have been less eager to make formal announcements for the seat, but speculation surrounds several, including former Secretary of Technology Aneesh Chopra, Senator Dave Marsden, Delegate Kenny Alexander, and former Delegate Paula Miller.
CLICK HERE for a full listing of potential and announced candidates for the 2013 statewide election
VIRGIL GOODE: WILL HE BE A SPOILER IN VIRGINIA?
Former Southwest Virginia Congressman Virgil Goode, a Democrat turned Independent turned Republican, is the Constitutional Party’s nominee for President. Some pundits believe that Goode’s candidacy could hurt Mitt Romney in Virginia, especially in Southwest Virginia, tipping the state’s 13 electoral votes in President Obama’s favor. The challenge from the Right, according to a recent Public Policy Polling survey gives Obama a 49-35 percent lead with Goode at nine. The poll also shows that Goode, who has not yet qualified to be on Virginia's ballot and has until August 24, hurts Romney especially with independent voters. Up ten points since the spring, Goode is now at 17 percent among independents.
GEORGE ALLEN FEATURED IN NATIONAL JOURNAL
George Allen’s return to the political spotlight six years after his loss to Jim Webb is the subject of a recent detailed profile of the former U.S. Senator.