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Senate panel resumes public debate over state spending plans

DES MOINES — After a month-long pause, the Appropriations Committee in the Iowa Senate has convened today  with ten budget bills on its agenda.

The Republican-led House has passed all the bills that outline an eight-point-two billion dollar state spending plan. Until today, budget decisions from Senate Republicans were on hold. It gave Governor Kim Reynolds time to lobby more Republicans in the House to support her stalled state scholarship plan for private school students.

Senator Bill Dotzler of Waterloo is among the Democrats who’ve suggested the pressure campaign on Republicans in the House was futile.  “They don’t want to get beat up on. They’re not going to change their votes,” Dotzler said. “…Playing chicken with them is not the right way to do stuff.”

It’s unclear what the plan may be as lawmakers return to the state Capitol. The top Republican in the House is declining interview requests. The GOP leader in the Senate told reporters he expects a budget agreement to come together over the next couple of weeks, while discussions on policy-related matters continue among Republican leaders and the governor.

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