Monday, December 21, 2015

House Republicans Move Stopgap Budget Bills In Face Of Certain Veto, Again

(Dec. 21, 2:30 p.m.) -- Republicans on the House Appropriations and Rules Committees Monday amended and reported out two bills by party-line votes to provide an 11-month stopgap budget and non-preferred appropriations totaling $28.2 billion or about 92 percent of a full fiscal year’s budget, according to Rep. Bill Adolph (R-Delaware), Majority Chair of the Appropriations Committee.
Gov. Wolf wrote to each member of the Appropriations Committee saying he would veto the stopgap budget bills.  Wolf vetoed the Republicans’ first stopgap budget in September.
Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) Sunday reiterated his Caucus would prefer to work on a permanent agreement.
The Appropriations Committee amended Senate Bill 1073 (Browne-R-Lehigh) General Fund bill to include the 11-month budget, taking out the “agreed-to” General Fund budget provisions.
Rep. Adolph told the Committee the vote on the pension bill Saturday demonstrated the votes are not there for one-third of the “agreed-to” budget package-- pension reform.
A budget spreadsheet release along with the amendment to Senate Bill 1073 shows the line by line appropriations in the House Republican stopgap budget.  Their numbers are based on the original $30.2 billion Senate-House Republican budget passed in June and vetoed by the Governor in House Bill 1192 (Adolph-R-Delaware), not the “agreed-to” budget in the Senate-passed version of Senate Bill 1073.
Click Here for a summary of the original Republican budget in House Bill 1192.  Click Here for a summary of the environmental provisions related to House Bill 1192.  Click Here for a budget spreadsheet showing the 11-month budget from House Republicans.
Click Here for a summary of the “agreed-to” budget passed in Senate Bill 1073. Click Here for a summary of the environmental provisions related to the Senate Bill 1073 budget.  Click Here for a budget spreadsheet showing the “agreed-to” budget.
Fiscal Code Bill
The Rules Committee amended House Bill 1327 (Peifer-R-Pike) which took out many of the provisions added as part of the “agreed-to” budget in the Senate.  Provisions relating to the horse racing fund are retained.  
Other provisions opposed by the environmental community were removed by the amendment, including: one killing nearly final Chapter 78 drilling regulations related to conventional wells, another creating a new $12 million Natural Gas Infrastructure Development Fund and a third section giving the General Assembly yet more time to review any plan developed to implement EPA’s Clean Power Climate Plan.
A provision was retained cutting the allocation from the Environmental Stewardship (Growing Greener) Fund from $35 million to $20 million for the coming fiscal year as well as other provisions providing special appropriations for specific projects.
A copy of the amendment is available online.
The bills now go to the full House for action.  House Bill 1327 is on concurrence so it will only need one vote of the full House to send it back to the Senate for their concurrence.  
Senate Bill 1073 will possibly need 3 days of House action and a trip through the House Appropriations Committee until a final House vote sending it back to the Senate for their concurrence.

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