The Latest: Christie, lawmakers fail to enact new budget
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The Latest on the possible New Jersey government shutdown (all times local):
New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie has ordered the state government to shut down after he and the Democrat-led Legislature failed to reach an agreement on a new budget.
The shutdown means state parks and nonessential services like the Motor Vehicle Commission are shutting down just ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Prisons, the state police and casinos will remain open.
This is Christie’s first government shutdown in his two terms, and the first since 2006 under Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine.
Budget talks fell apart when Democratic Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto failed to support a bill to make over the state’s largest health insurer. The measure was backed by Christie and Senate President Steve Sweeney.
Christie is term-limited. Voters will elect a new governor in November.
Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto has opened voting on a budget in an effort to pass the spending plan before a state government shutdown but lawmakers are deadlocked.
Prieto said Friday he will leave the voting session open but declined to say how late.
At midnight the current fiscal year budget expires. Republican Gov. Chris Christie has said he would shut down government if he does not receive a budget.
Voting was stalled on Friday with 26 votes in favor, 25 against and 24 abstentions. Forty-one votes are needed to pass the budget.
Prieto says he blames those abstaining for closing down the government. Christie has pinned the blame on Prieto because the speaker will not agree to legislation making over the state’s largest health insurer.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he has not reached a deal with Democratic Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto over the budget and that he will meet with his Cabinet to prepare for a shutdown.
Christie said at a news conference in Trenton on Friday, just hours ahead of a midnight deadline to fund the government, he met with top Democratic leaders over the path forward.
Christie says the only leader not in favor of the deal he has offered was Prieto.
Christie wants lawmakers to pass legislation overhauling the state’s largest health insurer, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, in return for accepting 73 Democratic legislative priorities.
Prieto has refused.
The Democrat-led Assembly and Senate have scheduled voting sessions for Friday. But have not passed a budget yet.
New Jersey lawmakers will try again to pass a nearly $35 billion budget.
The expected voting sessions on Friday come hours before a midnight deadline to avert a state government shutdown.
The Assembly and Senate are set to consider the budget despite Republican Gov. Christie and Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney’s stalemate with Democratic Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto.
Prieto refuses to post a bill backed by Christie and Sweeney that would overhaul the state’s largest health insurer.
The parties agree on the underlying budget and a Christie proposal to shore up the pension by transferring it to the lottery, but Christie says he wants the proposal affecting Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield. Prieto is opposed.