Deal or No Deal?
Confirmed from members of Senate Finance via mixed metaphor: "We've moved the ball down the field, now it's in their court." Legislation is still being crafted, but it looks very much like the transportation/budget question has been divided, and the House of Delegates has held.
We'll find out this week, apparently. Events are developing rapidly, but here's the situation as of 4:30 p.m.
Members of the Virginia Senate will meet tomorrow at noon, to debate and vote on a 2006-2008 state budget that doesn't contain a package of tax hikes for transportation, according to Senate officials.
No new legislation had been introduced as of now, but the Senate GOP leadership has scheduled a press conference immediately following the session to talk about "the legislative actions of the day and how they can result in a timely resolution of the differences with the House of Delegates over the adoption of the state budget."
With the clock ticking down toward July 1, and talk of a government shutdown being bandied about Capitol Square, city halls and county courthouses all around the commonwealth, the move, if it comes to pass.
Senators and editorial writers in some areas of the state have called for the upper chamber to "call the House's bluff" and pass a budget without a transportation package. That would force the House to show just how serious they are about promises to come back and do a deal on the state's road and mass transit systems.
The Senate Finance Committee will meet at 11 a.m. Delegates will convene at 3:30 p.m. for a pro forma session, with the full chamber due back in Richmond on Thursday.
Political junkies, bring popcorn.