House Puts Off Budget Vote Until Wednesday
State House GOP leaders expect to send a $28.3 billion budget proposal to the Senate on Wednesday. The move is largely procedural, since closed-door budget negotiations are still ongoing.
The House was originally slated to vote on the spending plan late Tuesday afternoon. But since final remarks on the floor were expected to go on into the evening, the final vote was put off.
"We clearly have the votes. The votes aren't a question," said Rep. Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery). "There's nobody getting beat up tonight, there's nobody getting sequestered."
"It just made sense to us. Start it at 11 o' clock and we'll have all day," said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill Adolph (R-Delaware).
It very well could take all day to get a final vote. Each one of the 203 members of the House is allowed to speak for just five minutes on the measure (the rule is specific to budget bills).
"We're going to want to hear from everyone, both Republican and Democrat," Vereb said.
The proposal would amount to a roughly two percent increase over the current fiscal year's budget. It includes a 1.5 percent funding bump for the General Assembly's own budget - an increase that wasn't in the governor's proposal.
The House GOP plan comes in about $100 million below Gov. Corbett's budget proposal, and would put about $10 million more toward education than his plan.
House Democrats criticized the proposal for still doing far too little to restore past cuts to education and human services.