Did Inslee Really ‘Kickstart’ Washington Budget Negotiations?

Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, center, gave no indication Tuesday of a change in the form or pace of budget negotiations in the Washington Legislature. AUSTIN JENKINS / NORTHWEST NEWS NETWORK

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With a government shutdown looming, Washington Senate Republicans are characterizing the status of budget negotiations differently than Gov. Jay Inslee.

On Monday, Inslee, a Democrat, said budget negotiations needed a “kickstart” and that he’d won a commitment from all four legislative leaders.

“I told them that they needed to start face-to-face negotiations starting tomorrow,” the governor said. “All four corners of leadership have agreed to do so.”

But when asked about this at a news conference Tuesday, Senate Republican leader Mark Schoesler gave no indication of a change in the form or pace of negotiations with House Democrats.

“We’ve been negotiating in person three, four days a week. Individual groups have been meeting,” Schoesler said. “Pretty easily accomplished.”

Both Schoesler and the governor do agree that time is running out to get bipartisan agreement on the budget before a partial government shutdown on July 1.

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