Friday, July 31, 2009

Bickering Cuts Short Conference Committee Meeting

It's not clear when the six-member legislative conference committee to discuss the state budget will meet again. The panel's second meeting in as many days was marred by more partisan sparring and no progress toward a spending plan for Pennsylvania.

The session at the Forum in Harrisburg was typified by this back-and-forth between Evans and Senate Republican Leader Dominic Pileggi, who challenged House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dwight Evans' leadership of the panel...

"And if you want to have two separate sets of rules, say it plainly./Debbie, could you please begin and explain to us about education?/Representative Evans, you just completely ignored my questions and comments. Is there a particular reason for that?/I don't have an answer to you, Senator Pileggi. You wanna, Debbie, join/I just think it's highly highly improper the way this committee's being run today."

The two sides could not even agree on where to begin. Democrats on the panel say the initial focus of the panel should be on budget cuts put forth by the Republicans, while Republicans say the Democrats should lead off by talking about how they'd support their spending proposal. House Appropriations Chairman Dwight Evans called an end to the session, saying he wanted to meet with Governor Rendell. The governor will meet this afternoon with Evans and Pileggi.

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