House Republicans voted in lockstep today against nearly $350 million in proposed budget cuts and transfers of money that would eliminate most of the remaining shortfall in the budget through June.
The 55-43 vote came after the similarly party-line defeat of a GOP alternative proposal and contrasted with the last time lawmakers took a whack at the shortfall, when Republicans and Democrats came to a bipartisan deal before convening for a one-day December special session.
This time around, Rep. Bruce Dammeier of Puyallup said: “It was a little more of the normal budget process, which in the past has been partisan.”
The real question is what this opening act portends for the main event, the two-year budget and its $4.6 billion shortfall. Will lawmakers return to the typical partisan divisions?
“We’ll figure out how to work together,” House budget chairman Ross Hunter predicted.
GOP floor leader Rep. Charles Ross of Naches wasn’t so optimistic.
“Today is the foundation day” that will set the tone for the session, he said, addressing the House’s presiding officer. “We’re here to be a part of the solution, Mr. Speaker. My fear is that we’re seeing those doors of opportunity for bipartisanship begin to close.”
“Our door is open, Mr. Speaker, we hope we’re invited.”
Dammeier said Hunter has made it clear he wants to work with Republicans on the two-year budget.
One problem, Hunter said, was trying to come up with an early package of cuts that could be unveiled on the ninth day of the legislative session and pass out of the House on the 15th day. “I had a week to rewrite the budget,” Hunter said.
Hunter said Republicans didn’t give him specific feedback on their ideas until after he had introduced his bill. GOP budget point man Rep. Gary Alexander did make three priorities clear, Hunter said: eliminate the Disability Lifeline and Basic Health Plan programs, and preserve levy-equalization for property-poor school districts.
Disability Lifeline survives in the plan, but state funding for Basic Health is eliminated and levy equalization is not touched. “He got two out of three,” Hunter said.
HOW THEY VOTED
|2||Rep. Jim McCune, (R-Graham)||N|
|2||Rep. J.T. Wilcox, (R-Yelm)||N|
|22||Rep. Sam Hunt, (D-Olympia)||Y|
|22||Rep. Chris Reykdal, (D - Olympia)||Y|
|25||Rep. Bruce Dammeier, (R - Puyallup)||N|
|25||Rep. Hans Zeiger, (R-Puyallup)||N|
|26||Rep. Jan Angel, (R - Port Orchard)||N|
|26||Rep. Larry Seaquist, (D-Gig Harbor)||Y|
|27||Rep. Jeannie Darneille, (D-Tacoma)||Y|
|27||Rep. Laurie Jinkins, (D-Tacoma)||Y|
|28||Rep. Tami Green, (D-Lakewood)||Y|
|28||Rep. Troy Kelley, (D-Tacoma)||Y|
|29||Rep. Steve Kirby, (D-Tacoma)||Y|
|29||Rep. Connie Ladenburg, (D-Tacoma)||Y|
|30||Rep. Katrina Asay, (R - Milton)||N|
|30||Rep. Mark Miloscia, (D-Federal Way)||Y|
|31||Rep. Cathy Dahlquist, (R-Enumclaw)||N|
|31||Rep. Christopher Hurst, (D-Enumclaw)||Y|
|33||Rep. Tina Orwall, (D-Des Moines)||Y|
|33||Rep. Dave Upthegrove, (D-Des Moines)||Y|
|47||Rep. Mark Hargrove, (R-Covington)||N|
|47||Rep. Pat Sullivan, (D-Covington)||Y|
Roll call provided by Washington Votes.