After a grueling House Appropriations meeting, intrepid intern Michael Macagnone offers this look at how your budgetary sausage is being made:
Offering a preview of the coming budget negotiations, House Republicans moved the Senate budget through the Appropriations Committee over the repeated objections of Democrats.
The committee wrangled over a procedural rule that eventually tossed out more than half a dozen amendments from Democrats that would have added money to the $27.65 billion in the Senate plan.
"This is a budget that hurts people when it does not have to hurt people," said Rep. Joseph Markosek, D-Monroeville, the committee's ranking member.
Republicans, such as commitee chairman Bill Adolph, of Delaware County, said that capping the spending at the Senate plan kept the state from spending irresponsibly.
"We cannot continue to add appropriations to what is not there," Adolph said.
Over the course of the two-hour meeting, Democrats tried procedural questions, motions and points of order to keep their amendments — and debate over the amount of dollars available to spend — on the table, but to no avail.
Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware, asked multiple times to have his amendments heard by the committee, and appealed whether the rules prohibited the committee from offering amendments that are not revenue neutral.
"Are you looking for an avenue to raise taxes?" Mr. Adolph asked Mr. Vitali at a heated point of the meeting.
Mr. Adolph and other Republicans on the committee applauded the notion of capping spending at the $27.65 billion in the Senate budget plan.
"We are putting this chamber on the right path," Mr. Adolph said.
Democrats had a different feeling on the matter.
"This is very disturbing, because it is damaging to the institution," Mr. Vitali said. "You have the votes you can win but you need to follow the rules, and to the extent that you do not you are doing damage to the institution."
Mr. Adolph then gavelled him to stop speaking before Republicans voted to toss more than a half-dozen Democratic amendments to the budget.