House and Senate Approve Separate Budgets on ARPA Funds; Conference Committee Formed
August 5, 2021
August 5, 2021
Late Wednesday, the House and Senate approved separate budgets to allocate nearly $3.1 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funds. The Senate allowed several amendments onto their version of the budget package and the House passed the original budget proposal with no amendments. The Senate then adopted their version of the budget proposal by a vote of 21-18.
YEAS–Barker, Bell, Boysko, Deeds, Ebbin, Edwards, Favola, Hanger, Hashmi, Howell, Lewis, Locke, Lucas, Marsden, Mason, McClellan, McPike, Morrissey, Petersen, Saslaw, Spruill, Surovell–22.
NAYS–Chase, Cosgrove, DeSteph, Dunnavant, Hackworth, Kiggans, McDougle, Newman, Norment, Obenshain, Peake, Pillion, Reeves, Ruff, Stanley, Stuart, Suetterlein, Vogel–18.
You can see from the vote tally some Senators made the decision to vote down major relief for families and businesses. These Senators voted down funds for:
“It has been the tradition in the Senate to work together across party lines on major items such as the budget. That tradition was continued when every Senator, Democrat and Republican, was given an opportunity for input,” said Senate Finance Chair Janet Howell. “Only four Republicans replied to my request for input. While I wish the budget could have passed in a more bipartisan fashion yesterday evening, Senate Republicans chose instead to squander their chance to stand up for their constituents and Virginians as a whole, instead grandstanding and bloviating through the night.”
Some of the additional amendments added by the Senate to the budget package included reopening of the Department of Motor Vehicles for all in-person services, sortation and vote tallying by individual voter precincts, increasing one-time bonuses for local law enforcement, and changes to the exemptions to the Virginia Overtime Wage Act to set overtime pay for certain employees at a rate consistent with the FLSA.
The House and Senate must now negotiate the final version of the bill in conference committee. Conferees for the budget bill include:
House: Delegates: Torian, Sickles, Carr, Tyler, Bulova, Knight, Austin
Senate: Senators: Howell, Barker, Saslaw, Locke, Lucas, Deeds, Hanger
Cheers to Delegate Joshua Cole for his uplifting and passionate speech on the house floor regarding the reopening of schools in his district and giving all educators a shout out.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, teachers in Virginia earn 32.7% less in weekly wages than other (non-teacher) college-educated workers. Virginia’s teacher wage penalty is the worst in the nation.Take Action Now