Richard Martin Reporting

The carpet will still be soggy Wednesday afternoon when the Nationals arrive in Turner Field’s visitors clubhouse, the hangovers still wearing off. But Manager Matt Williams, the front office and the coaching will move on from Tuesday’s celebration quickly and start preparing for the postseason, including selecting the roster.

In every portion of the team, from how to handle Ryan Zimmerman to the starting rotation, the Nationals face hard choices. Here’s one guess at how the Nationals will make them.

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~ The Washington Post

A special election to choose a Southwest Virginia delegate in the 4th District has been set for December.

Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, issued a writ of election Tuesday and set Dec. 9 as the special election date.

Current Delegate Ben Chafin was elected during a special election in August to fill the 38th District Senate seat held for many years by Phillip Puckett, who resigned in June. Chafin has served as the 4th District delegate for less than a year.

The 4th District includes all of Dickenson County, and parts of Russell, Washington and Wise counties.

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~ Bristol Herald Courier


More than six out of 10 Virginia voters support an expansion of Medicaid benefits to cover the estimated 400,000 state residents in the coverage gap, according to a new survey released on the eve of a special session of the Virginia General Assembly to discuss the issue.

But nearly half of Virginians surveyed have doubts that the federal government would fully fund its share of the program, according to the poll, conducted by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.

“Virginia voters continue to be pulled in two directions,” said Dr. Quentin Kidd, the Wason Center’s director. “Most support the general idea of Medicaid expansion, but many are worried by concerns expressed by opponents as well.”

The results of the survey frame one of the core issues dividing Democrats and Republicans when it comes to finding a way to provide coverage to Virginians who don’t qualify for Medicaid and make too little money to afford purchasing insurance on the healthcare exchange set up under the Affordable Care Act.

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~ Richmond Times-Dispatch


Character is what you are in the dark.
Dwight L. Moody

The House Appropriations Committee wasted no time Tuesday in approving a landmark budget agreement to deal with a $2.4 billion revenue shortfall in the special legislative session that will convene Thursday.

The committee voted, 16-0, to approve House Bill 5010, introduced by Chairman Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, to carry out the agreement that Gov. Terry McAuliffe and House and Senate leaders announced Monday.

On Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee will take up its version of the legislation, introduced by Sens. Charles Colgan, D-Manassas, and Walter Stosch, R-Henrico County, the committee’s co-chairmen.

The legislation provides a blueprint for dealing with a $882 million revenue shortfall that emerged last month on top of the $1.55 billion gap the governor and assembly filled in June through a combination of spending cuts and tapping the state’s “rainy day fund.”

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~ The Roanoke Times


For the second time in three seasons, after a 3-0 shutout of the Atlanta Braves, the Nationals have won the National League East.

They become the first team to clinch a division title and a playoff berth in the 2014 major league postseason, and they were able to win the pennant on Atlanta’s home turf of Turner Field.

Ian Desmond smacked a towering two-run homer and Tanner Roark (14-10) twirled seven shutout innings as Washington eliminated Atlanta from the division race.

It was their second straight series win over the Braves after they had dropped the first four series of the season against their rivals. The Nationals lost seven of their first eight meetings against the Braves. Since June 20, they have won seven of their last 10 contests against Atlanta, erasing the early season trouble they had with winning teams.

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The Nationals defeated the Braves, 3-0, on Tuesday night in Atlanta and claimed their second National League East title in three seasons. They are the first NL team to clinch a division title this season. This is the earliest in the season any D.C.-based baseball team has clinched a postseason berth, besting the 1933 Nationals, who secured a spot on Sept. 21 that year.

The Nationals received a strong pitching performance from Tanner Roark, who fired seven scoreless innings on 89 pitches. He worked easily through the Braves lineup, holding their two most dangerous hitters — Freddie Freeman and Justin Upton – hitless in six at-bats. Tyler Clippard fired a scoreless eighth and Drew Storen notched the save.

Ian Desmond hit a monstrous two-run home run off Braves starter Aaron Harang in the sixth inning, a shot that landed beyond the first section of seats in left field. Jayson Werth drew a walk to lead off the inning, and Desmond clobbered the hanging Harang slider to give the Nationals the crucial home run. Desmond scored an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning when he doubled, Bryce Harper moved him over to third base on a grounder and he scored on a wild pitch by David Carpenter.

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~ The Washington Post


Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and conservative radio host and Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham will come to Hanover County next weekend to campaign for Dave Brat, the Republican nominee running for the 7th District congressional seat formerly held by Eric Cantor.

Brat’s campaign announced today that Sessions and Ingraham will be joined by radio host Doc Thompson, formerly of WRVA, at an outdoor fundraiser in Beaverdam on Sept. 27.

The event will feature a “roundtable discussion on issues facing America and the 7th District, followed by their individual rally speeches,” moderated by Thompson, the release said.

For Ingraham, who is also an author and political commentator, it will be the second time stumping for Brat in the Richmond area. A week before the Republican primary in June, she attended a Brat rally at a country club in Cantor’s Glen Allen neighborhood in Henrico County.

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~ Richmond Times-Dispatch


New data out today show that nearly 1 million Virginia residents went without health coverage in 2013, according to the Census Bureau. Though our uninsured rate is below the national average, Virginia is a populous state. That’s why only 12 other states are home to more uninsured people.

And while a lot has changed for the better since 2013 in many states, Virginia’s lawmakers have been avoiding the obvious tool that would help us move the needle on coverage — expanding Medicaid with federal dollars.

Many states, for example, have decided to close their coverage gaps and lower the number of uninsured in their states, by expanding Medicaid and using federal funding to cover people with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty line. A study from earlier this summer found that states that closed their coverage gaps have nearly 38 percent fewer people without coverage than before.

But Virginia’s lawmakers stood — and continue to stand — in the way of that improvement. In states like Virginia that have refused to close the gap, the decline was only 9 percent.

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~ The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis


Citigroup Inc. (C:US), Bank of America Corp. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS:US) are among 13 banks whose units were sued for $1.15 billion by Virginia over claims they misled the state’s retirement system about the sale of residential mortgage-backed securities.

The suit in state court in Richmond is the largest financial fraud case ever brought by the commonwealth, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said in a statement today.

The sealed complaint was filed in January under the whistle-blower provisions of the Virgina Fraud Against Taxpayers Act by Integra REC LLC, a Texas-based financial modeling and analysis firm, and subsequently joined by the state. It was made public today.

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~ Businessweek


Now that Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Speaker Bill Howell’s GOP House leadership have joined hands across the partisan divide to agree on budget amendments, governor is dropping hints that it’d be nice to do the same in this week’s special session on Medicaid expansion.

"To that end, Del. Tom Rust has introduced a conservative compromise proposal that will get Virginians the care that they are already paying for, without exposing our Commonwealth to undue fiscal risk," MCAuliffe said.

"I hope the General Assembly will pass the Rust bill this week so that I can sign it right away."

Rust’s is an interesting effort. It picks up the idea that state Senators John Watkins and Emmett Hanger tried earlier this year to separate an expansion of health insurance coverage to low income Virginians from the Affordable Care Act, AKA Obamacare, that had become anathema to their fellow Republicans. Rust’s bill, like Watkins’ and Hanger’s, would create a recovery fund intended to recover Obamacare taxes Virginians have already paid in order to fund expansion. Medicaid expansion opponents had criticized the two Senators’ approach as window-dressing.

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~ Newport News Daily Press


Gov. Terry McAuliffe today endorsed a proposal by Del. Thomas D. Rust, R-Fairfax, to use federal funds to expand health care coverage for uninsured Virginians through a new system that would rely on private insurance purchased through employer group plans, Medicaid managed-care policies, or the federal insurance marketplace.

McAuliffe issued a statement that called the Virginia Health Care Independence Act “a conservative compromise proposal” that the General Assembly should approve when it meets Thursday for a special session to debate whether and how to provide health coverage to hundreds of thousands of uninsured state residents under the Affordable Care Act.

The governor also made an implied reference to the budget agreement he announced this week with General Assembly leaders — including House Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford — to deal with a $2.4 billion revenue shortfall in the two-year budget during the special session.

"This special session is an opportunity to continue to prove to Virginians that Republicans and Democrats can work together on common sense solutions to make their lives better," McAuliffe said.

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~ Richmond Times-Dispatch


Virginia’s Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe just handed GOP Senate candidate Ed Gillespie a gift. The Post reports:

n August, McAuliffe announced a $2.4 billion projected budget shortfall that he largely blamed on cuts in defense spending mandated by sequestration.

Virginia is among the first states to attribute the loss of thousands of jobs and billions in revenue to sequestration, the mandatory across-the-board spending cuts that took effect in 2013 as part of an earlier impasse over the federal budget.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Gillespie’s opponent, supported the Budget Control Act of 2011 that originally mandated the cuts. Worse for Warner, he has supported tax increases, to close our federal budget gap, something his Democratic governor refused to do at the state level:

A gaping $2.4 billion hole in the state budget brought a rare moment of bipartisan unity to the Capitol on Monday as the Democratic governor and Republican legislative leaders unveiled a plan to tap the rainy day fund and trim most spending by 3 percent.

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~ The Washington Post

How often do you hear a Democrat on the campaign stump tell a largely partisan audience that some of the attendees might be well-advised to vote for a Republican?

That’s exactly what happened when Sen. Mark Warner stopped on a college campus a few weeks ago.

“If you’re a Democrat, you may have to vote for a Republican who is willing to do revenues,” the Virginia Democrat said. “If you’re a Republican, vote for a Democrat who’s willing to do entitlement reform.”

In any case Warner, the former Virginia governor who is favored to win re-election against former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie this fall, and has often been talked about as someone who could end up on a national ticket, said no one should vote ”for anybody who’s signed one of these stupid pledges” such as the anti-tax one championed by the Grover Norquist-led group Americans for Tax Reform.

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~ Roll Call


his week, Virginia lawmakers will convene in a special session to consider adopting ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion. But Democrat Governor Terry McAuliffe will be rebuffed once again due to waning public and legislative support for the program.

A special legislative session has been called in Virginia this week to consider Medicaid expansion, but Governor McAuliffe will be rebuffed once again, as

Earlier this year, during Virginia’s regular legislative session, Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) tried to strong-arm a divided legislature into accepting ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion. House Speaker Bill Howell (R) held strong, calling instead for comprehensive Medicaid reform to make the program work better for the truly needy and taxpayers alike. Despite a Democrat-controlled Senate, ObamaCare expansion was D.O.A. in the Virginia House.

But like a good Clintonite, McAuliffe didn’t give up without a fight: he tried to tie ObamaCare expansion funding to the state budget — threatening a government shutdown and risking Virginia’s sterling AAA bond rating. This, of course, after he falsely accused his opponent of advocating for a government shutdown during his campaign, while consistently denouncing the federal shutdown, calling threats of a shutdown “dangerous and wrong.” McAuliffe dared Republicans to take the bait. They didn’t.

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~ Forbes