NATION

DAYBREAK DAILY: Compromise floated for Virginia budget

Decrease Increase Text size

ABC7 WEATHER: Foggy and misty early, followed by some afternoon sun and highs in the mid 70s. http://wj.la/72e8x6

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the reports – Update on the VA scandal; Opening arguments in the Johnnie Riley trial; Fatal police shooting in Suitland; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.

BUDGET BREWING: With a dash of compromise, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “The prospect of a $1.35 billion revenue shortfall has spurred state legislators into action to complete a two-year budget by July 1. A Senate leader offered a compromise on Thursday to separate the long-stalled budget from a pitched political battle over expanding health care coverage for hundreds of thousands of uninsured Virginians.

“Also Thursday, leaders of the Senate Finance Committee met informally to plan action on the budget to ensure that the state can tap the rainy day fund for up to $675 million to offset half of the expected revenue shortfall through the biennium. They also began to review potential spending cuts – including all non-mandated new expenditures in the currently proposed budget – and scheduled a meeting June 9 to move a revised budget to the full committee and Senate.

“. . . (Gov. Terry) McAuliffe laid the blame for the budget stalemate on the assembly for refusing to compromise on a budget that expands health coverage. “We have 30 days to go. Let’s get this done,” said the governor, who ended his radio appearance by accepting a $5 bet with WRVA host Jimmy Barrett on whether the state will have a budget by McAuliffe’s next appearance – on June 26.” http://bit.ly/1nzCecO

OCEAN CITY: Beach Week with a twist, per the Baltimore Sun, “What organizers are billing as "College Takeover Beach Week" in Ocean City is causing some concern in the community, but town officials said they are prepped, positive and planning for a safe summer. College beach week is an "unsanctioned event," said Jessica Waters, communications manager for Ocean City. She pointed out that it is one of several similar gatherings – including Senior Week — that have not gone through the town's official process for approving private or public events.

“The beach gathering aimed at college-age kids made quite a splash last year in Virginia Beach, where it was believed to have contributed to drawing some 30,000 to 40,000 people to that city's shores on one weekend in April. The Virginian-Pilot reported an outbreak of violence occurred during that weekend, including shootings, robberies and general rowdy behavior. More than 100 arrests were made, the newspaper reported. However, organizers denied that their group was responsible for the violent incidents.” http://bsun.md/1mOJuOu

ORDERS BE DAMNED: I’m going home, per the Washington Post, “Fourteen Fort Washington families ordered from their homes nearly four weeks ago are planning to return Friday, saying they cannot wait for the Prince George’s County government to repair damage a landslide caused to their road and utilities. County officials said although they “cannot permit these residents to return to their homes,” they will not physically stop them if they want to defy the evacuation order and assume the risk.

“The government said it needs up to two more weeks to determine the stability of the collapsing hillside, the availability of water and sewer service, and whether emergency vehicles can access the area as needed. . . Starting May 5, 28 homes were declared off-limits by the county. Six, atop the hill that overlooks Piscataway Drive, may have sustained structural damage when the slope collapsed after torrential downpours.” http://wapo.st/1hEH3JO

ERIC SHINSEKI: Virginia contingent weighs in, per the Virginian-Pilot, “Virginia’s U.S. senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine¬, said Thursday that Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki must resign given the revelations about severe problems with the veterans health care system. They joined a growing list of federal lawmakers who said they respected Shinseki – a former Army chief of staff – for his service to the country but it was time for him to go.” http://bit.ly/1iyggir

MEANWHILE: Of a doctor shortage, per the New York Times, “Dr. Phyllis Hollenbeck, a primary care physician, took a job at the Veterans Affairs medical center in Jackson, Miss., in 2008 expecting fulfilling work and a lighter patient load than she had had in private practice. What she found was quite different: 13-hour workdays fueled by large patient loads that kept growing as colleagues quit and were not replaced.

“Appalled by what she saw, Dr. Hollenbeck filed a whistle-blower complaint and changed jobs. A subsequent investigation by the Department of Veterans Affairs concluded last fall that indeed the Jackson hospital did not have enough primary care doctors, resulting in nurse practitioners’ handling far too many complex cases and in numerous complaints from veterans about delayed care. “It was unethical to put us in that position,” Dr. Hollenbeck said of the overstressed primary care unit in Jackson. “Your heart gets broken.”

“Her complaint is resonating across the 150-hospital Veterans Affairs medical system after the department’s inspector general released findings on Wednesday that the Phoenix medical center falsified data about long waiting times for veterans seeking doctor appointments.” http://nyti.ms/1o4naQk

CREIGH DEEDS: And mental health, per the (Charlottesville) Daily Progress, “State Sen. Creigh Deeds on Thursday renewed his bid for lasting reform of the mental health system that he says failed his son in November. “We’re going to remake the system,” Deeds said. “We’re going to have a model for the rest of the country in Virginia for the provision of mental health care.”

“What shape those changes might take, he said, is unclear, but legislation passed this session addressing issues that emerged in his son’s case are just the first steps. This year’s bills were “simple,” Deeds said, but helped close gaps that put vulnerable Virginians at risk. The Bath County Democrat’s remarks drew applause from dozens of local mental health workers, emergency services providers and community members gathered at a town hall meeting sponsored by the Community Mental Health and Wellness Coalition.” http://bit.ly/TZcrO5

MEANWHILE: Of background checks, per The Hill, “The House on Thursday approved a funding increase for the national background check system in response to last week’s mass shooting in Santa Barbara, Calif. Adopted 260-145, the amendment to a 2015 appropriations bill provides an additional $19.5 million in grant funding for the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which is intended to prevent the sale of guns to criminals and the mentally ill.

“The vote represents one of the most significant legislative actions taken by the House on guns since the 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Members of the GOP leadership were split on the amendment. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) voted for it despite facing a primary challenge, as did GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.). But House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) voted against it.” http://bit.ly/1nyDUmH

DONALD STERLING: Former owner?, per Bill Plaschke in the Los Angeles Times, “It is the sort of unimaginable leap that would make even Blake Griffin proud. In less than two months, the Clippers have gone from being the second-most popular team in their own town to the most expensive team in NBA history. In the time it takes to say "Sterling, Silver and Stiviano," they have gone from hard-luck losers to billion-dollar babies.

“The Clippers curse has been at least temporarily swallowed up by the Clippers purse, which was bulging with Thursday's news that the team has been sold to former Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. Leave your jaw on the floor. It's all true. The Clippers. Two billion bucks. No NBA championships. Two billion bucks. No appearances in the conference finals. Two billion bucks. No league most valuable players, no Staples statues, and no real national love until their owner became the most disliked man in America. Two billion bucks.” http://lat.ms/1hEfvo3

POLITICO PLAY: “Hillary Clinton offers a detailed account of the deadly attack on the American embassy in Benghazi — and a pointed rebuttal to Republican critics who’ve laced into her over the incident — in a much-anticipated chapter of her forthcoming book, “Hard Choices,” obtained by POLITICO. “Those who exploit this tragedy over and over as a political tool minimize the sacrifice of those who served our country,” Clinton writes in the gripping chapter, “Benghazi: Under Attack.”

“Casting doubt on the motivations of congressional Republicans who have continued to investigate the attacks, including with an upcoming House select committee, Clinton continues: “I will not be a part of a political slugfest on the backs of dead Americans. It’s just plain wrong, and it’s unworthy of our great country. Those who insist on politicizing the tragedy will have to do so without me.” ’’ http://politi.co/1rnHiSY

MICHAEL BROWN: Sentenced, per City Paper, “Former At-Large Councilmember Michael Brown—the son of former Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and a man who once aspired to be mayor—will serve 39 months in prison on a bribery charge, a federal judge ruled Thursday. Brown, in court almost a year after he first pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from undercover federal agents in exchange for help getting them District contracts, apologized to a long list of people, including his constituents, his family, and other councilmembers.

“ "I should have resisted the culture of corruption running rampant in our city, and I should have done so steadfastly," Brown told Chief District Court Judge Richard W. Roberts. Roberts apparently wasn't swayed, sentencing Brown within the 37 months to 43 months guidelines that the prosecution had requested. Brown's lawyers had asked for less than 37 months. Brown will also serve two years of supervised release.” http://bit.ly/1kbbXhi

SILVER SPRING TRANSIT CENTER: Or not, per Gazette.Net, “A week after county investigators released a report detailing mismanagement at the beleaguered Silver Spring Transit Center, county executive candidate Douglas M. Duncan wants the man in charge of the project fired. “I am writing to urge you to hold the manager of this project accountable and relieve General Services Director David Dise of his duties, effective immediately,” Duncan wrote Thursday in a letter to County Executive Isiah Leggett. “The taxpayers of Montgomery County — and the commuters of Silver Spring — deserve nothing less.”

“In a response to Duncan, Leggett said the county plans to hold accountable those responsible for the project’s flaws, delays and cost overrun. But Dise is not the man responsible, he said. “If I thought Mr. Dise was responsible for the flaws and the resulting delays in the Silver Spring Transit Center, he would be gone already,” Leggett wrote in his response Thursday.” http://bit.ly/1o4tsPX

NOT HIS CASH: As a result. . ., per the Frederick News-Post, “A Frederick man who worked as an investment adviser was arrested Thursday on charges of illegally transferring more than $1.2 million from a client's account. A federal grand jury returned a 24-count indictment against Travis Wetzel, 35, on charges of wire fraud and money laundering Wednesday.” http://bit.ly/1oQp9ck

DISTRICT TAXES: A strange mix, per DCist, “As part of a vote on the fiscal year 2015 budget, the Council approved several recommendations from the Tax Revision Commission, including some that will cut taxes for many D.C. residents. Also approved was the so-called "yoga tax" — a 5.75 percent sales tax on "water consumption for home, storage of household goods/mini storage, carpet and upholstery cleaning, health clubs and tanning studios, car washes, and bowling alleys and billiard parlors."

“That tax, which first was considered in 2010, was part of the commission recommendations published months ago. But its adoption in a budget that appeared 18 hours before the first Council vote seems to have blindsided many, a claim Council Chair Phil Mendelson addressed thusly: “The burden is on the public to pay attention to what we’re doing." ’’ http://bit.ly/1kbnXPZ

MORE FIGHFIGHTERS: Please, per ARLnow, “Arlington County firefighters are asking the county government to fund two additional firefighter positions to service the county’s growing population. . . The Arlington Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Association (the IAFF Local 2800) issued a long, detailed statement on the need to staff Tower 104, which serves the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, and Rescue 109, which serves Pentagon City and Columbia Pike, with four firefighters, as opposed to their current three-person staffs.” http://bit.ly/1pDlb6z

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “1 hour, 35 minutes, 23 seconds. That's how long it took this 10-year-old Virginia boy to run his very first half-marathon -- and set a world record.” http://wj.la/SVREKx

NEWSTALK: Among today’s guests (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) is Dr. Shireen Atabaki, an emergency medicine physician at Children's National who will be asked about childhood concussions.

--Skip Wood

Recommended For You