Friday, June 09, 2017

Groundhog Day

So let's see. You may recognize this scenario.  It's the last day of legislative session in Louisiana and the House is in chaos. Months of committee hearings, floor votes, conference deals, and late night negotiations have come down to a last minute scramble over the state budget. The budget has to pass or else everyone has to come right back in special session and start all over.

The latest version with Senate revisions is in. The task is nearly complete and everybody really wants to go home but things are bogging down because the Republican leadership is cranky.  Unwilling to bend on the last $50 million compromise, the bill's author is refusing to bring it to the floor for a vote.
State Rep. Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, was the sponsor of the main budget bill and disagreed with the version of the spending plan Edwards and the Senate supported. The governor and senators had proposed allocating all of the money available to state agencies and government, but asking those entities to reserve a total of $50 million in case of a budget shortfall.

Henry was pushing to make $100 million worth of cuts to the state budget upfront. He wanted to use that $100 million to cover any midyear budget shortfall that might come up. Edwards and the Senate would not agree to that plan.

"I don't know that there is much more I can do to prevent us from coming back here," Henry told the House. "I am looking forward to the day when I can miss all of you. We are not there today unfortunately."
Everything comes down to a race against the clock as parliamentary whiz Walt Leger tries a series of maneuvers to call a vote without the cooperation of the bill's sponsor or the House Speaker. The clock runs out. Everyone feels bad.  The Governor comes out again with his sad face and sighs that he wishes everyone would just "grow up." Stephanie Grace calls him a "disappointed dad" again.

It all starts again from the beginning this weekend on Monday (because what's the hurry, really?) When do we get to the part where we finally break out of the loop?  Does it happen before or after we go off the "fiscal cliff"?

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