Gov. Terry McAuliffe has signed a $100 billion, two-year state budget lawmakers passed earlier this year.
The governor signed the spending plan Friday, while also vetoing a single paragraph in the 545-page budget barring him from using any state money to expand Medicaid.
McAuliffe, a Democrat, favors expanding publicly funded healthcare for the poor in Virginia, something Republicans have strongly opposed.
Republicans put language in the budget expressly prohibiting McAuliffe from a unilateral expansion of Medicaid. McAuliffe said the language was an unconstitutional overreach.
GOP House Speaker William J. Howell said McAuliffe’s veto is not valid, and won’t be included in the final budget law.
The debate is likely to remain an academic argument. The governor has not signaled any recent plans to try and expand Medicaid on his own.