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Government and Politics
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Did Inslee Really 'Kickstart' Washington Budget Negotiations?

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network
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.

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.