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Wed May 22, 2019, 07:56 AM

Senate trying to limit policy proposals in budget

THIS YEAR THE annual spending bill may be just that. While the budget process is only about halfway through, the leadership of both legislative branches appears determined to focus on appropriations and to limit the amount of policy provisions included in the fiscal 2020 budget.

“We talked a lot about the fact that we’re trying to limit consideration of any outside sections or policy in the budget,” Senate Ways and Means Chairman Michael Rodrigues said right after the multi-day Senate budget debate began on Tuesday. “That’s what we have committees for.”

That would be a change for the Senate. When Stan Rosenberg was president of the Senate and Karen Spilka was Senate Ways and Means chairwoman, the Senate loaded up the annual budget bill with policy priorities. In the budgets covering fiscal 2016 through fiscal 2019, the years Spilka was Ways and Means chair, the Senate budget had more than double the amount of outside policy sections as the House budgets on average, and the Senate budgets were on average about 145 pages longer than the House budgets.

Spilka is now president of the Senate, and members of her leadership team said the squeeze on policy riders in the budget may mark a shift in House-Senate relations, with Spilka betting that the new approach will lead to the House and Senate working cooperatively to set policy through the committee process of passing bills.

Read more: https://commonwealthmagazine.org/politics/senate-trying-to-limit-policy-proposals-in-budget/

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