House passes Senate budget bill, Gov. to blue line and sign

The state House today passed a state budget bill as a vehicle to begin paying state workers again.

By a vote of 195-3, the House gave final approval to a so-called "bridge budget," sending it to Gov. Rendell who has said he will sign it tomorrow. Rendell has said he will veto all but the government operations funding in order to ensure that roughly 77,000 state workers can begin receiving paychecks again.

During the hour-long debate, lawmakers from both parties said they were unhappy about voting to approve a partial budget, but said they would do so in order to help state workers and their families who have not received full paychecks for weeks because of the budget impasse.

That budget would not provide billions in funding for schools, hospitals and social service organizations, many of which are no longer receiving payments from the state because of the budget stalemate. That has prompted some Republican lawmakers to accuse the administration of "switching hostages" from state workers to human-services workers.

Rendell is expected to discuss his veto plans and the status of negotiations to complete the budget process at a news conference later today where he will sign a bill extending unemployment compensation to jobless Pennsylvanians.



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