Mass. House Republicans Block Dems' Spending Bill

Massachusetts House Republicans have blocked Democrats plans to pass a $400 million spending bill that they say will prevent the state from needing to make immediate budget cuts.

Democrats hoped to pass the legislation in the House Monday, but Republicans said they had not seen the bill and wanted to study it.

Republicans want more time to review the measure and some even suggest waiting until formal sessions resume in January to take up the matter. Ipswich Republican Rep. Brad Hill says that there's no need to rush to pass a bill.

"We have the dollars to get us through the next few months," Hill said. "Let's digest this document in a thoughtful manner, so that we can insure these dollars are being spent in the ways that we believe they should be spent."

But House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Charles Murphy disagrees, warning that some state hospitals and jails could close, and state troopers could be laid off, if the House doesn't act soon.

"These are real deficiencies that we've identified," Murphy said. "These are programs that need the dough. And if the money isn't there between now and January, decisions are going to be made to cut the programs so we can balance the budget."

Republican Rep. Karyn Polito, who is running for state treasurer, said she would like the House to wait until January until offering new spending, or meet in a full formal session to vote on the proposal.

Since July 31, the House and Senate have been in informal sessions, which allows one member of the chamber to block a bill's passage.

The spending bill would authorize hundreds of millions of dollars in new spending bolstered by federal dollars for the current fiscal year.

This program aired on September 27, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.


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