Shuttle Diplomacy

There’s activity in the state Capitol tonight. Legislative leaders are meeting on both the House and Senate side, as top Democrats and Republicans try to bridge a budget gap that’s narrowed to about $10 million.

“There are no meetings scheduled as of yet, but we continue to do a lot of shuttle diplomacy and phone calls,” said Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati as he made his way to Senator Jake Corman’s office for some pizza. “We’re trying to tie up loose ends. Hopefully we get them tied down tonight and have an agreed-to product.” Scarnati says there’s still no consensus on what to do about the shaky status of $850 million in federal medical funding. Earlier today, Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said “no one” expects Congress to approve the full amount for Pennsylvania and other states.

Scarnati seems more optimistic than Governor Rendell, who John Micek of the Allentown Morning Call nabbed for a brief interview this evening. “unless I miss my guess, it won’t be tonight,” he said.

Count the Capitol Press Corps among the hopeful. Most of us ordered takeout Chinese, in anticipation for a long night of stakeouts.

About pubradiopolitics
Scott covers state government and politics for Pennsylvania's public radio stations, including WITF in Harrisburg, WHYY in Philadelphia and WDUQ in Pittsburgh.

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