Fumo makes unexpected return to Capitol

There was a familiar, if unexpected, face at the Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing yesterday: Sen. Vincent Fumo of Philadelphia.

Fumo - the former ranking Democrat on the commitee -  bid farewell to Harrisburg in July, saying with his trial scheduled to begin in September he would not be able to return after the summer break. But Fumo's federal corruption trial was delayed last month after the judge grew too ill to continue. That freed Fumo to return to Harrisburg when session commenced in mid-September.

Fumo held forth with characteristic flourish yesterday, agreeing with Republican Committee Chairman Sen. Gib Armstrong of Lancaster that the troubled economy could leave the state with a record $2.5 billion shortfall by June 2010 and calling Gov. Rendell's budget trimming measures "chump change."

Fumo will be casting his final votes and leaving the Senate floor for the last time in the next 24 hours. The 2007-2008 session ends tomorrow and opening statements in his trial are expected to begin Oct. 20.






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