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Armstead, Carmichael strike back at Governor


The Register-Herald

CHARLESTON, W.Va.  — Speaker of the House Tim Armstead and Senate President Mitch Carmichael responded harshly Tuesday to criticisms by Gov. Jim Justice that called the legislative leadership’s budget framework “cowardly.”

Armstead, R-Kanawha, said he felt Justice “belittled and made a joke” of the State of Emergency light, mentioning that it turned on out of respect to residents affected by last year’s flood. He said Justice owes residents affected by the flood an apology.

“It’s time for Jim Justice to decide whether he will finally take seriously the sacred job with which the people of West Virginia have entrusted him, or if he will simply continue to treat the people and their elected representatives with disrespect. The governor’s stunt relating to the dome shows how little respect he has for the people of our state. His threat to shut down our government if he doesn’t get his way is also just the latest example of this disrespect.

Armstead said the House is on its way to consider and pass legislation needed to balance the budget and that leadership is committed to having that budget sent to Justice’s desk before the end of session.

Carmichael’s comments called out the governor for not coming through on his promises.

“Since Nov. 8, this governor has consistently promised the sky and delivered the rain,” Carmichael, D-Jackson said in a statement. “He pledged to our citizens that he would balance a budget without raising taxes. He did not. He pledged to our citizens that he would step up and handle his own outstanding tax burden. He has not. He pledged to the Legislature that he would deliver a budget that would make the kinds of tough cuts that would be needed to get this state back on a course to prosperity. He has not. He said he had found the money necessary to prevent a ‘raid on the Rainy Day Fund. He has not.”

“With a key deadline to get bills passed out of the House looming next Wednesday, the people of our state don’t have time for political stunts. If the governor wants to work with us to solve this problem in a responsible and productive manner, we remain willing to work with him. But the clock is ticking and we don’t have time to play games.”

Carmichael, like Armstead, also criticized Justice’s decision to burn the State of Emergency lantern and his remarks on a government shutdown.

“Today, while the Legislature continued its work, the governor called us cowards, described his meetings with legislative leadership as producing ‘nothing,’ threatened to shut down the government outright if he does not get his way, and, perhaps in the most out-of-touch move to date, declared his intent to turn on the State of Emergency lantern in the top of the Capitol dome. In further drawing his line in the sand, he said he would be downstairs every morning in his ‘war room,’ and the Legislature could come to him to work.”

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