Virginia’s Democratic-controlled state Senate passed measures Monday that would make it illegal to require individuals to purchase health insurance, a direct challenge to the party’s efforts in Washington to reform health care.
The bills, a top priority of Virginia’s “tea party” movement, were approved 23 to 17 as five Democrats who represent swing areas of the state joined all 18 Republicans in the chamber in backing the legislation.
The votes came less than a week after President Obama implored Democrats in Washington not to abandon their health-care efforts, urging them in his State of the Union address not to “run for the hills” on the issue.
But the action in Virginia, a state that backed Obama in 2008, could indicate that the president is failing to reassure members of his own party that current reform efforts remain worthwhile.
Tea Party 1, Obama 0. And that’s just in Virginia.