OLYMPIA — With time running out on the regular session, House Democrats are poised to vote on another general fund budget plan sometime today, a compromise between the budget they passed more than a week ago and the Senate Democratic budget that never came to a vote in that chamber.
Senate Republicans, who passed their own budget with the help of three breakaway Democrats, seem confident that it won't pass the Senate.
Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, acknowledged shortly before noon that he doesn't have the 25 votes to pass the bill if it comes to the Senate. “Not yet,” he added.
Details of the spending plan are available here. It contains one of the main sticking points between the two parties, a delay of a $323 million payment to schools, which Democrats support and Republicans oppose. It does not skip a pension payment worth about $133 million, which Republicans favor and Democrats oppose.
Sen. Joe Zarelli of Ridgefield, the top Republican on the Senate Ways and Means Committee, was confident the working majority the GOP formed last week for its budget will hold against this proposal, which he said was negotiated between the Democrats in each chamber.
“We haven't had one conversation, we wasted six days,” Zarelli said. “It's a little juvenile, and its posturing. It's like hanging up the phone on somebody you don't like instead of talking it out.”
Murray said that if the House passes the revised budget as expected, it would come to the Senate where Republicans could offer amendments to add or subtract things they want for a compromise. That amended budget could then go back to the House for final passage.
“We could be done by midnight,” Murray said, adding that was a goal. “Once you go into special session, everybody wants to bring up everything.”
The 60-day session is scheduled to adjourn sine die by midnight tonight.