Accusations of both wimpiness and stubbornness are being thrown around as legislators continue to bicker over the state budget.
On Wednesday Republicans in the House pushed through a more than 600-page bill that outlines GOP spending plans for the next two years as well as a plan to reduce commercial and industrial property taxes. House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, a Republican from Hiawatha, issued a challenge to Senate Democrats.
“You don’t like it? Tell us what you want to change. Give us a proposal,” Paulsen said Wednesday afternoon. “You know, they need to get to work.”
Senators haven’t debated a bill since May 26th. Paulsen suggests senators are “gallivanting around” outside the capitol rather than making decisions that would bring an end to the budget stalemate.
“That’s not acceptable. Iowans are waiting for us to make a decision,” Paulsen said. “I mean, unless their goal is really to shut down state government. There’s 50 senators over there that were elected by the people of Iowa. They need to get in here and they need to get to work.”
Meanwhile, House Democratic Leader Kevin McCarthy of Des Moines blasted Paulsen and his fellow Republicans for ramming through a “monstrous” bill covering two years’ worth of spending and a plethora of policy issues after less than six hours of debate.
“It’s unprecedented,” McCarthy said. “…I think this is a bad, bad place to be given the magnitude of the bills that we did today.”
The House also passed a bill that would establish the toughest abortion restriction in the country, banning abortions after the 18th week of pregnancy. House Republicans established time-management rules which prevented debate on that proposal. McCarthy expressed his frustration to reporters.
“It’s disgusting, in my view,” McCarthy said.
No Senate Democrats were available at the statehouse to speak with reporters. The chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee issued a written statement, saying legislators need to do “more listening to Iowans” so they can strike a “common sense compromise.”