ATLANTA -- The budget is likely to be the only major legislation that passes either the House or the Senate this week because lawmakers are only just getting their first look at the other chamber’s bills.
The House Appropriations subcommittees meet this morning to approve their portions of the $18 billion budget, and the full committee will vote it out that afternoon. Then the House Rules Committee will meet to put it on the agenda for a floor vote Tuesday morning, according to House Majority Leader Larry O’Neal, R-Bonaire.
“I think a lot of folks will come back right after church on Sunday and begin working on that,” he said.
Appropriations Chairman Terry England, R-Auburn, predicts there will be little debate on the budget before the vote because tax collections have remained lean.
“There are no new, major initiatives, nothing new, sexy or pretty. Just trying to make sure Georgians are served and we’re spending their tax dollars as efficiently as we can,” he said.
That will leave eight days for the Senate to review the budget and pass its version before a House-Senate conference committee works out the differences by the last day of the 2013 session.
Senators will also begin looking at the bills passed by the House, and members of the House start scrutinizing what the Senate passed. Committees will have little time to ponder them.
As the committees approve them, the House and Senate rules chairmen will be watching each other to ensure one chamber isn’t holding up the flow of legislation to create a logjam that can be used in negotiating. If both don’t have equal logjams, then they won’t negotiate from equal positions.
“There’s always that chess game about how many House bills we are moving and how many Senate bills they are moving,” said Sen. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler.