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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Republicans bash colleagues for cutting off debate on $1.5 billion budget

Democratic state senators voted 18-11 to cut off debate on the state's $1.5 billion General Fund budget on Tuesday.

Republicans bashed their Democratic colleagues for cutting off debate on a bill that spends that much money in taxpayer dollars.

Some Democrats questioned the sincerity of the Republicans, saying they were using the budget procedurally to stop the Senate from getting to other business.

"We have wasted a day for no reason," said Sen. Roger Bedford, chairman of the Senate General Fund budget committee. " ... Some of them are just playing a game with taxpayer money at the expense of people on Medicaid in this state."

Sen. Ben Brooks, R-Mobile, said it is shameful that senators would try to shut down debate on a $1.5 billion budget. He said it takes months to get the budget ready to debate and they are expected to vote on it after five hours.

The budget has changes from the version passed in the House of Representatives so that chamber would have to concur with the changes or go to a conference committee with senators to try to work out the differences. Bedford said the Senate spent $597,764 more than the House. He said the budget is balanced and completely funds the state children's health insurance program.

Bedford, D-Russellville, railed on his colleagues for playing politics with the budget.

"I'm going to have an altar call for all of you wayward folks and I hope you join us," he said as he talked about volunteer fire departments, children, seniors, prosecutors, and others beneficiaries of the budget.

Sen. Charles Bishop, R-Jasper, questioned Bedford's motives. Bedford has said he is considering a run for governor in 2010.

"Are we talking about this or are we talking about running for governor," Bishop said.

Bedford responded "we need a good one."

He continued: "Get out of your trashy ways and get out and join the people."

Brooks said he wanted to respond to some of the blasphemy from Bedford, but debate had already been stopped.

"The truth hurts," Bedford quickly responded.

Brooks continued to try to delay after Democrats stopped debate. He had the bill read at length.

Bishop said Republicans will eventually be in the majority and he hopes they will treat the process and those in the minority better.

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen


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Location: Montgomery, AL, United States

South Union Street is the blog of Montgomery Advertiser political reporters Markeshia Ricks and Sebastian Kitchen. Always check here for the latest on the Legislature, elections and other activities and players in Alabama.

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