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Pennsylvania

Pa. Governor Wolf to hold news conference on budget

| Monday, Dec. 28, 2015, 11:00 p.m.

HARRISBURG — Lawmakers waited Monday for Gov. Tom Wolf to take action on the budget bill on his desk and saw no clear way to resolve their differences as Pennsylvania's record-long impasse approached its seventh month.

Wolf scheduled a news conference Tuesday morning in the Capitol to discuss the budget. His press secretary declined to say what Wolf would announce.

Members of legislative leadership reported no progress over the weekend in efforts to revive a bipartisan compromise budget after it stalled last week.

“I guess at this point, the ball's in the governor's court,” said Rep. Brian Ellis, R-Butler, the House GOP's caucus administrator.

With lawmakers rushing to leave town for Christmas, the Republican-controlled Senate on Wednesday sent Wolf the main appropriations bill in a last-ditch, $30.3 billion budget package that had been written by House GOP majority leaders.

However, it lacked hundreds of millions in additional dollars that Wolf had sought for public schools and social services, and it veered from the bipartisan compromise he had struck with House and Senate leaders in November.

Besides signing or vetoing it, Wolf has other options. He could let it become law without his signature after Sunday night, or he could eliminate some of the individual spending items in it, whether thousands of dollars or billions of dollars.

Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, said he would urge Wolf to veto it and that Senate Democrats would not help override a Wolf veto.

“I want to see the implementation of the full budget agreement that we had in place,” Costa said. “I think that was something we need to do.”

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