House GOP, On An Island, Readies Stopgap Budget
Governor Tom Wolf warned House Republicans on Monday not to bother with a short-term budget, saying such a measure would receive his veto.
The House GOP is charging ahead anyway, positioning an 11-month interim budget for a final vote this week before the Christmas holiday.
The Senate is signaling it won’t approve the plan, and Governor Wolf removed any shadow of a doubt about his intentions when he wrote to House members and told them a partial budget plan would be swiftly rejected if it landed on his desk.
But GOP House Majority Leader Dave Reed held out hope that the Senate and the governor would change their minds – or, at the very least, bear the blame for a budget impasse that goes into 2016.
“The ball will be in their court,” said Reed. “We’ve got to see what they decide first.”
Democrats objected to the stopgap budget at a House Appropriations Committee meeting.
“We know this is a waste of time,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery).
But House Republicans said a short-term budget would unlock state aid for schools, human services nonprofits, and local governments that have had trouble paying their bills as the budget impasse creeps toward the six-month-mark. The tentative budget agreement reached before Thanksgiving, they added, is now too scrambled to repair.
“The fact is, right now, there is not an agreement with the Senate or the governor on a final spending plan,” said House GOP spokesman Steve Miskin. “It doesn’t exist.”