80-minute meeting; little progress
Updated 4:26 pm, Tuesday, September 26, 2017
HARTFORD — After an 80-minute, closed-door meeting with a bipartisan group of legislative leaders on Tuesday, slight progress was made toward legislation that would give state hospitals $70 million in federal reimbursements before an Oct. 1 application deadline.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said he hopes the legislation can reach the General Assembly on Thursday or Friday, before the Yom Kippur Jewish holiday at sunset. It seems unlikely that the General Assembly will reach a compromise budget deal before the end-of-the-week deadline for the fiscal year’s first rounds of school aid and municipal assistance.
And as the Republican budget finally was written into legalese and returned to the Capitol on its way to Malloy’s promised veto, the governor was vague on when he might reject the legislation.
House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, said the hospital reimbursement seems likely to pass before the end of the week, but there is as yet no “definitive” plan for a vote.
Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, said the possible focused special session may be up to Malloy. He said that active negotiations with the Connecticut Hospital Association indicate the need for some new language in the legislation, even though the hospital assistance was contained in both the Democratic plan and the GOP budget, which passed with a handful of Democrats about 10 days ago.
“Our plan is to meet again with the governor around noon tomorrow and continue in details some of the items we discussed today,” Looney said.
“Our message really is to have the hospitals and the administration to continue to negotiate and have the broadest agreement possible, so that can be voted on,” Said Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk.
“The administration and hospitals have been in ongoing discussions based upon what was proposed in both of our budgets, and we’ll see what happens in those discussions,” said Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin. “We’ll decide Thursday what we’re going to do.”
Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano told reporters that Tuesday was the first day that he was told that lawmakers might not come in on Thursday or Friday to complete the hospital support. He expected to meet with the Connecticut Hospital Association to review the various options, including a pending court case over rates.
“I don’t see another budget on the horizon right now,” Fasano said, adding that Hartford’s imminent bankruptcy, as well as funding for UConn, were not discussed Tuesday.
“Good meeting, I thought, and we’ll continue tomorrow,” Malloy said shortly after 2 p.m. He intends to issue a veto message, but declined when it might occur.
“I think everyone understands what my strongly held positions are,” Malloy said. The budget bill was returned Tuesday to the Senate clerk’s office for a signature, then it would go the House clerk and the Secretary of the State, who would deliver it to Malloy.
Once it gets to Malloy’s office, he will have five days to issue his veto message.
“I just think we should get the whole thing done,” Malloy said. Asked when he expected to veto the GOP budget, Malloy said he wasn’t sure. “When I’m ready and happy with the message that I will attach, then we’ll move forward on that.”
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