Iowa’s Democratic governor and legislative leaders from both political parties have come to a state budget agreement, but they’re keeping most of the details secret until all 150 members of the legislature meet at the capitol Friday. The state’s leaders hammered out the secret deal after a marathon meeting Wednesday and talks again Thursday morning. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a Republican from Sioux City, says Iowans will think it’s a good compromise. Rants says when you spend that long “trapped” in a room, progress can be made, but he describes the journey to agreement as “arduous.” Senate Co-Leader Mike Gronstal, a Democrat from Council Bluffs, says the meetings with the governor were productive. “I’m tempted to use the word excruciating, but perhaps that’s a little too harsh,” Gronsal says. “I think it was a difficult, tough, hard-pressed-from-both-sides negotiation and I think it forged a bipartisan compromise.” Rants says lawmakers may meet on Saturday to complete action on the budget, and then adjourn for the year. “We will work methodically but diligently to complete action,” Rants says. “If we can get it done on Friday, we can — assuming there’s an agreement. If we can’t, we can’t and we’ll come in on Saturday. We need to wrap this session up.” The 2005 Iowa Legislature is in week three of overtime as the impasse over state spending turned into a showdown between Republicans and Democrats.
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