Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment (R-James City) was spotted in a Capitol Square office building Tuesday morning dressed not in his usual, natty business attire, but in a pink polo shirt and sweater vest.
A. Norment has decided he needs to be comfy for state budget negotiations; or,
B. Norment is backing sweater-vest guy Rick Santorum for president.
Asked about his get-up, Norment indicated that the answer was A. He said he was dressed for comfort because budget talks could stretch to the end of May. He was joking — or at least he hopes he was joking — about negotiations lasting that long.
Fellow negotiators have said that they are aiming to reach a deal for a two-year, $85 billion budget by the end of this week. That would allow the General Assembly, which failed to pass a spending plan before adjourning is regular session March 10, to vote on the plan when it reconvenes for its veto session April 18.
It is by no means certain that budget conferees from the House and Senate will work out their differences before Easter. They were still trying Tuesday to come together on K-12 education, human services and — the biggie — transportation.
But Norment said they were making progress.
“I think we’re finally picking up some momentum after some inertia here,” Norment said.