House Speaker Bill Howell appointed half-dozen delegates to sit down with senators to negotiate differences in the state budget — if, of course, the Senate passes one.
The Senate failed to pass a budget Thursday after all Democrats voted against it or did not vote.
Howell (R-Stafford) officially named Dels. Lacey Putney (I-Bedford), Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights), Beverly Sherwood (R-Frederick), Chris Jones (R-Suffolk) Steve Landes (R-Augusta) and Johnny S. Joannou (D-Portsmouth).
No surprise there. These are the same conferees from the last two years.
The Senate voted 20 to 17 for the budget plan but 21 votes — a majority of those elected to the 40-member body — were required. Democrats have tried to use the state budget to regain power in the evenly split Senate, which Republicans have been able to control with help from Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling’s tie-breaking votes. But Bolling (R) lacks authority to vote on the budgets.
The House passed its budget 79 to 21 vote with 11 Democrats voting for the budget.