Votes signal breakthrough in state budget stalemate

(AP) – There are signs of a potential breakthrough in Pennsylvania’s budget stalemate just three days before Christmas.

The House of Representatives defied Republican majority leaders Tuesday and narrowly sent a bipartisan spending bill over a key procedural hurdle.

The bill has Gov. Tom Wolf’s backing to end a nearly six-month stalemate. The spending bill’s already passed the Republican-controlled Senate and the House could send it to Wolf’s desk as early as Wednesday.

The main appropriations bill in a $30.8 billion spending package survived a series of procedural votes. Moderate Republicans joined Democrats to form a 100-97 majority on the final vote.

The parliamentary maneuvers also defeated GOP leadership’s short-term spending proposal that Wolf had threatened to veto.

However, other major elements of the bipartisan budget deal remain in limbo, including legislation restructuring pension benefits and authorizing a $1 billion-plus tax increase.

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