The Senate has adjourned, which can’t be a good sign for those who were fond of the most recent budget proposal. It sounds like there will be lawmakers missing on Thursday and Friday – lawmakers who were expected to vote yes on the budget legislation – so another delay is likely.
It might turn out that this budget incarnation is already dead. Once again, lawmakers thought they had a deal but couldn’t muster the support, at least in the Senate, to warrant bringing it to the floor for a vote.
Lawmakers were working under the assumption that they had a window of opportunity to pass something this week because, as rumor has it, a handful of lawmakers will go missing due to other obligations starting tomorrow. Now that the window is closing, Republicans might choose to go a different yet familiar route toward a budget deal: Democrats.
The minority party was all geared up earlier in the week because, after watching from the sidelines all session, they were only about $500 million away from a budget deal with the GOP. But those talks ended abruptly when Republicans patched things up with Brewer and came up with the most recent plan.
It all happened so fast, really, after a painfully slow start. Republicans had envisioned working with Brewer on the budget, and proceeded with that in mind for about six months. Then, in the final night of the regular session, Brewer and Republican leaders teased Democrats with stop-and-go talks that amounted to nothing.
The rest goes like this: Brewer vetoes. Democrats in, Brewer out. Three weeks of special session. Brewer in, Democrats out. Republicans fail to muster votes again.
Anyway, I might be getting way ahead of myself. It might turn out that they come back next week and vote on a proposal similar to the one on the table now. Or maybe they’ll do it later this week after all.
But Democrats, in the meantime, might want to be on stand-by.