Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Senate Adjourns On 6-Hour Call After Non-Concurring On House Republican Budget Plan 43-7

Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) Wednesday said the Senate will go on a 6-hour call after non-concurring on the House Republican budget plan in House Bill 453 by a vote of 43 to 7 leading, he hopes, to the formation of a House, Senate conference committee.
He said, however, there is no agreement yet on whether the House will vote to form a conference committee on the revenue package, but he informed the House that was the intent of the Senate.  “They have to take the next step.”
House Republican Caucus spokesperson Steve Miskin confirmed later Wednesday that, as negotiations continue, the House has not made a commitment to call for a conference committee and no action on that front is expected when the House reconvenes next week.
Sen. Corman said he hopes the House will work with the Senate like they did on pensions and other issues to finish the budget and it would be a step backwards if that was not the case.
He said the Senate could have amended the House plan and sent it back to the House, but that would not resolve the issue.
Asked if the October 1 deadline established by the Governor earlier this week and the downgrade in the state’s credit rating by Standard and Poor’s Wednesday will lend some urgency to settle the budget.
He said he wished the budget could be done tomorrow, but he they respect what the House did, adding it was never going to be adopted by the Senate.
On taking money from special funds, Sen. Corman said there are constitutional and legal questions with some of the funds, and he is not sure all of the money they identified actually exists.
But at the end of the day, Sen. Corman said, the state will still be left with a deficit at the end of the year if they depend on one-time withdrawals and it would leave Pennsylvania with a bigger problem.
He noted it was the responsibility of Senate and House committees to review how the monies in the special funds are spent and believes they will get more attention in the budget process next year.
He wrapped up his comments by saying he and Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh), Majority Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, will remain in Harrisburg as long as it takes to get the job done.
(Based on Periscope app coverage of Sen. Corman’s press availability by PLS Reporter.)

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