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Analysis: Spring chill hits Democratic leaders over budget

From MarylandReporter.com

Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch await bill signing Tuesday.

The body language seemed to convey the lingering hostility. Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch stood stiffly behind their chairs, waiting for Gov. Martin O’Malley to arrive at Tuesday’s bill signing.

The usual celebratory atmosphere after the 90-day session was muted by the failure to enact the tax hikes the night before, forcing the implementation of a budget with another $500 million in budget cuts.

The chill did not diminish when the governor appeared. He cited successes on the environment and health care, but was still in a funk.

“Sadly, the operating budget was pretty much the low point of my experience here,” said O’Malley, who had set an ambitious agenda for the session. “We cannot change the past, but we can change the future.”

The future is likely to hold an O’Malley order for the lawmakers to return to Annapolis for a special session, as Miller and Busch would like to see. As Busch made clear in a MarylandReporter podcast, he actually preferred that the House and Senate extend the session on their own, but Miller refused after Busch paid a personal and highly visible visit to Miller on the Senate rostrum Monday night.

O’Malley would not discuss calling a special session either Monday night or Tuesday morning, shoving aside the microphone when a reporter asked him about it again.

“He’s not a happy camper right now,” Miller told reporters afterward, referring to O’Malley. “He’ll get over it.”

Read more: http://marylandreporter.com/2012/04/11/analysis-spring-chill-hits-democratic-leaders-over-budget/#ixzz1rqcUh0uX
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