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House Budget Vote Nears

State House lawmakers are moving forward with a budget proposal and plan to vote during the first week of June.

Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee Monday approved a spending plan that caps spending for 2013 at $27.6 billion dollars, a ceiling minority Democrats object to as being too low.

In a session that lasted hours, Republicans voted down a series of Democratic amendments that would have shielded some educational and social services programs from further cuts.

The committee's ranking Democrat, Rep. Joe Markosek (D-Allegheny), said the move was meant to stifle debate, but Committee Chairman Bill Adolph (R-Delaware) maintained that there will be time for amendments during floor debate.

"We're not stifling any amendments," Adolph said. "What we're saying is that the amendments cannot spend over the amount that we have."

Markosek rejected that characterization of Democrats' position, saying both parties understand that the budget must ultimately be revenue-neutral.

"It's a disagreement of what those revenues are," Markosek said. He argued the GOP estimate of revenues available for next year's budget is around $300 million short.

The budget proposal that passed yesterday's committee vote on party lines sets the same spending limit as its Senate counterpart. Both versions are $500 million higher than Governor Tom Corbett's proposed budget.