Republican lawmakers in the Louisiana House on Wednesday decided not to attempt an override of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ line-item vetoes that lessened some budget cuts.
There had been chatter that an attempt to strike back against Edwards’ budget decisions was brewing, but the bill was overwhelmingly OK’d after little discussion.
House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry said he had spoken to the governor earlier in the day and ultimately decided that the budget is a process that changes with more information.
“More information has been developed,” he said.
House Speaker Taylor Barras, R-New Iberia, had earlier acknowledged that a possible override attempt would be unlikely to draw the two-thirds support needed in his chamber to reverse the governor’s decisions.
“In my estimation on talking to members, there are not the 70 votes,” he said Tuesday.
Even if the House were to support an override of Edwards’ decisions, Republican Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego, had said he wasn’t interested in a similar Senate debate. The Senate adjourned for the Easter holiday weekend before noon Wednesday and won’t return until Monday.
Through his line-item veto, Edwards lessened budget cuts passed by lawmakers in a recently ended special session by more than $4 million, suggesting the reductions pushed by House Republicans were too deep.
Those cuts come on top of others that are pending from Edwards’ administration.
Despite several tax hikes during the special session that ended March 9, the Legislature left an estimated $70 million gap in the budget for the current year. Edwards has not yet announced additional cuts that his administration will make to fill that hole by June 30.
Edwards said during a speech at the Baton Rouge Bar Association on Wednesday that he will announce the cuts Thursday.
Lawmakers rarely override a governor’s veto. Only two vetoes have been overridden in modern times. The last governor to have a veto overruled was Edwin Edwards in 1993.
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