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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."

Inslee On Budget Talks: 'They Still Have Miles And Miles And Miles To Go'

Office of Gov. Jay Inslee
File photo. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will likely have to call a third special session of the Washington Legislature.

It looks like Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will have to call a third special session of the state legislature. The current overtime session ends Wednesday—and there’s still no budget deal.

Inslee said there’s been some movement between House Democrats and Senate Republicans. He calls it “a little improvement.”

“But they still have miles and miles and miles to go,” the governor added.

The two sides are trying to craft a more than $40 billion budget that also addresses a Supreme Court ruling on school funding.

Inslee said his message to budget negotiators is it’s time to put the “pedal to the metal.”

“You know we’re getting down to hours here rather than weeks so I’ve tried to impress that upon them,” he said.

If the two sides can’t get a deal soon, they risk a partial government shutdown on July 1. But Inslee said there’s still time to avoid that scenario.

“Yes, yes, there’s a lot of ways to not have a government shutdown,” he said. “But it does require people to become reality based.”

Preparations for a shutdown have been underway for weeks, just in case.