Analysis: House alliance fractures on veto session
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A historic compromise brokered between conservative Republicans and Democrats in the state House of Representatives decided the course of this year's state budget. But it was only a matter of time before diverging interests would fracture the coalition.
Apparently, the breakup came in only a matter of weeks after the legislative session ended.
Republicans in the House were far more disinterested in holding a veto-override session than Democrats, and the groups diverged in their votes on whether to hold a session to consider reversing the cuts Gov. Bobby Jindal made to the budget deal they reached.
Ultimately, the veto session was canceled when a majority of senators - Republicans and Democrats - voted against returning to the Capitol. It only takes one chamber to kill the session.
But while the House vote didn't determine the outcome, it did show a more heavily partisan divide than the budget discussions during the legislative session that ended in June.
In the session's final hours, House members on both sides of the political aisle praised their bipartisanship. They said it helped the Legislature devise a rare budget independent of the governor's office.
An unlikely alliance was struck between leaders of the House Democratic Caucus, the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus and a group of conservative House Republicans known as the "fiscal hawks."
They crafted a budget deal in the House that upended Jindal's spending plans - and they held together as the budget moved to the Senate, to keep the House as a player in the final version of the bill, rather than a rubber stamp to the Senate's vision.
By sticking together, the groups each won things they wanted in the final compromise.
"We developed a viable trust and common understanding," Rep. John Bel Edwards, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said of the strategic union as session ended.
He said he hoped the relationship would continue.
But the fiscal hawks angered other members of the Republican Party who were more closely allied with Jindal and who bristled at the idea of giving in to ideas put forth by Democratic lawmakers in a majority-GOP Legislature.
As House Republicans try to mend the divided delegation, and since the fiscal hawks have won many of the long-term budgetary changes they sought, attention shifted. The bipartisan hand-holding dwindled with the idea of a veto session.
While Democrats in the House largely supported an attempt to reconsider Jindal's budget cuts and bill rejections, far fewer Republicans in the chamber backed the efforts, and many hawks voted against holding the session.
Advocates for the disabled unsuccessfully tried to persuade lawmakers to return, angry over Jindal's line-item vetoes of $6 million in planned spending for disabled services.
Forcing a veto session would have been a political blow for Jindal, since lawmakers have never held one under the current state constitution approved four decades ago. Apparently, it wasn't something most Republican lawmakers wanted, including several fiscal hawks.
Fiscal hawk leader Rep. Lance Harris, who also serves as chairman of the House Republican Delegation, called the veto session costly and unnecessary.
Another fiscal hawk, Rep. Simone Champagne, R-Jeanerette, said that while she didn't necessarily support the governor's budget vetoes, she also didn't support a return to the Capitol.
"We did a compromise budget. Not everyone was satisfied with what we did. But I think we were independent and played our role. Now the governor has played his role, and that was what he was charged to do," Champagne said.
Edwards said he didn't believe the disagreement over the veto-override session was a sign the alliance between Democrats and the fiscal hawks was dead. He said the sides had never agreed to work together to force a veto session.
"There are going to be a number of issues where we have philosophical differences of opinion, and this was one of them," he said.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Baton Rouge police are investigating a former employee of the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center on felony theft charges. Police says the former center's director of facilities allegedlymore>>
Baton Rouge police are investigating a former employee of the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center on felony theft charges.more>>
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office is investigating a deadly shooting in Marrero. The incident happened around 6:45 a.m. Thursday in the 6600 block of 14th Street. Officers arriving on the scenemore>>
Police have identified the victim in Thursday's deadly shooting in Marrero. Police say Terry Holden, 47, was shot and killed Thursday morning.more>>
Investigators say an Algiers man shot and killed a masked robber who held him and his wife at gunpoint. The incident happened just before 10 p.m. Wednesday in the 1800 block of West Homestead Drive. Policemore>>
Investigators say an Algiers man shot and killed a masked gunman who attempted to rob him and his wife at their home.more>>
Tuesday, August 19 2014 4:10 PM EDT2014-08-19 20:10:07 GMT
The police chief for Gulf Shores along Alabama's coast is weighing-in on the actions of the law enforcement commander in charge of Ferguson, Missouri's in the wake of an escalating crisis brought on bymore>>
Gulf Shores Police Chief Ed Delmore wrote a blistering open letter to Captain Ronald S. Johnson, who was given command of law enforcement operations following days of looting and rioting in the city.more>>
Dashcam footage captures an amazingly acrobatic motorcycle accident. As a car switches lanes, a motorcyclist slams into the vehicle's rear bumper. The motorcyclists is launched into the air, flips andmore>>
Dashcam footage captures an amazingly acrobatic motorcycle accident.more>>
Fox 8 WVUE-TV
Louisiana Media Company, LLC.
1025 S. Jefferson Davis Parkway
New Orleans, LA 70125