“They’re willing, apparently, to leave here without funding the government. Then why should we fund any other part of it?”
Franklin Representative Sam Jones is referring to the Republican House leadership. He is one of the House Democrats who blocked HB 3, the capital outlay funding bill, Wednesday evening.
One key member of the House Republican leadership, Appropriations chair Cameron Henry seems unfazed by the maneuver.
“Holding up House Bill 3 -- don’t understand that strategy necessarily, but everybody’s entitled to how they want the process to work for them – or against them,” Henry said.
Jones says House Democrats are prepared to hold up HB 3 – as well as the overall budget bill, HB 1, when it returns from the Senate – right past the 6 p.m. June 8th deadline for the session’s end.
“Everything should be on the table if we’ve got to come back to special session.”
The Democrats are upset with the Republicans’ indifferent response to dealing with the fiscal cliff, or to advancing significant tax reform. And, Jones says, Democrats are fed up with House leadership overall.
“Leading means getting results, and I don’t know if they were prepared to lead,” he said. “If you notice, even their own membership is divided into three groups.”
Whether it's appropriating less than the available revenue in the budget bill, or insisting on revenue-neutrality with tax reform, or simply sitting on major bills sent over from the upper chamber, Jones believes the House leadership is also trying to bend the Senate to their will.
“The animosity they have for the Senate is palpable,” he says, sadly.
Henry dismisses that accusation, saying, “This is just the normal process.”
And at this point, Senate President John Alario isn’t overly concerned about the schism in the House, or its effect on the Senate.
“In a democracy sometimes you have a little saber-rattling, and I think that’s what’s going on with that,” Alario says. “We try not to do a partisan divide in the Senate, and I think that works well for us. So, I don’t think there’s anything for the House to gain by trying any maneuvers on the Senate. It just won’t work.”