Senate Minority Leader Mark Schauer (D-Battle Creek) called out the Republicans who control the Senate for not having a single appropriations bill passed for the 2007-2008 budget before July 31, according to subscription only Gongwer News Service.
Schauer told Gongwer this is fewest total roll call votes held so far in a decade and no budget bills having passed the chamber under chief obstructionist Mike Bishop. The Senate earned the reputation as the place where bills go to die in the last session even when Republicans controlled the House, and Bishop is only enhancing that reputation.
In contrast, by this time in 2006 the Senate had passed 23 budget bills, and at no time in the last 10 years had it passed fewer than 13 budget bills - in 1996 - by the end of July.
In addition, Mr. Schauer said the session overall have resulted in a paltry number of actual votes. Through the end of July, the Senate had taken a total of 235 roll call votes, he said, compared to 614 in the same time frame a year ago.
"Michigan is burning, our people are struggling, we need to put down the fiddle and pick up the pace," Mr. Schauer said.
This accurate assessment comes on the heels of news, again reported by Gongwer, that the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State Police and Military and Veteran Affairs sent budgets for those departments to the full Appropriations Committee. However, the move represented the first action by the House taken on what are supposed to be Senate-originating budgets. Both HB 4353 and HB 4356 were unanimously adopted by the subcommittee.
Gongwer is also reporting legislative sources said House Speaker Andy Dillon (D-Redford Twp.) and Bishop (R-Rochester) are preparing to hold an extensive series of meetings on the budget in August. Gongwer also reported sources indicate that both Houses could be preparing for a long-day on August 22. There are only two session days left before the budget has to be drafted. Gongwer said Aug. 22 is the only real day of action for the Senate.
“In the Senate little action is expected on August 8 and August 15 first because some members will be at the National Conference of State Legislatures annual meeting in Boston next week and second because several members are going to Israel the following week.”
Cleary, the Senators are living up to their reputation as obstructions, and Schauer had it correct when he called it the “do-nothing-Senate.” The fact that Senate Republicans have dragged their feet on the budget has also contributed to the hikes in tuition Michigan’s colleges and universities have had to enact because e they had no idea what the state budget will look like.
It also seems ironic that the leading rightwing blog – one of only three rightwing blogs in the entire state – continues to make the false claim that the House and Dillon are obstructions, dragging their feet and other ridiculous, false names.