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House and Senate Finish Budget

While this year’s budget was hailed as on-time, the fiscal code bill failed to make the final cut until this week. After several revisions, and a rare return to Harrisburg after the start of summer recess, the House narrowly approved the bill as amended by the Senate by a 103-85 vote, and on Wednesday the Senate signed the bill, sending it to Governor Corbett for signature.

During the final days while finishing the budget and looking for solutions to the Governor’s top three priorities, the Senate included language in the fiscal code bill (SB 591) to expand Medicaid in Pennsylvania if the federal government made several specific concessions to the Commonwealth.  The House stripped the Medicaid language from the bill, and added a new provision that would have committed House and Senate to legalizing high-interest payday loans this fall. The Senate refused to accept the payday lending provision after the House had adjourned for the summer.

The House and Senate are slated to return September 23, and various scenarios are under discussion about what the fall legislative agenda will look like.