Washington legislators are headed into an unusual second special session, still hoping to bridge stark partisan differences and avoid a June 30 deadline for averting a partial government shutdown.
Dejected and weary lawmakers were closing out their 30-day special session Tuesday with little to show for their labors. Gov. Jay Inslee, a freshman Democrat who once served in the state House himself, called a special session to convene at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.
At a Capitol news conference, Inslee sought to strike a balance between conciliation and impatience. He said he still wants to work with the Republican-controlled Senate on compromise legislation and a budget that boosts K-12 funding by $1 billion. But he also lit into the Senate coalition caucus, accusing them of rigidly following an “ideological agenda,” holding the school budget hostage for GOP bills that failed to pass the Democratic-controlled House. By contrast, he said, the House Democrats have backed off of some major priorities and have chopped their tax package by $771 million, he said.
The Senate coalition — 23 Republicans and two Democrats — have called for a somewhat smaller budget and said they would vote for new revenue only if the House will pass some policy reform bills.