Governor Deval Patrick yesterday called the State Legislature to task for going out of formal session, going to the state house press room personally to urge the Speaker to call the Legislature back into session. The Governor is upset with the lack of House action on an education bill that had been passed by the Senate that raised the state cap on Charter Schools, as well as a failure to fully close a $600 million dollar gap identified by the Governor’s budget team. The Governor took a swipe at the Speaker in the press room.
“It’s more than a little frustrating that they would leave for whatever it is, six or seven weeks, with so much of the Commonwealth’s vital business undone,’’ Patrick said during a rare, unscheduled visit to the State House press room.
“It’s my hope that the members will realize that their rules are of their own making, that they have it in their own power to work a couple of more days, or frankly, as long as it takes to get this work done.’’
The Speaker, through a spokesman, fired right back:
“Governor Patrick’s comments seem to be more about political necessity than ‘moral obligation,’ ’’ DeLeo spokesman Seth Gitell said in an e-mailed statement. “Speaker DeLeo’s obligation is to the Commonwealth’s schoolchildren, not Governor Patrick’s political calendar.’’
The Legislature left a few prominent items on the table, including the Quinn Bill funding cut advocated by the Governor, as well as the the recission of two paid holidays for Suffolk County, Bunker Hill Day and Evacuation Day. The House has left action on the Education Bill until January, giving anti-charter forces time to mobilize against the bill.
The animus now on display between the Governor and the Speaker does not portend well for future collaboration, and could lead to some bruising battles about how to close budget gaps that remain to be fully dealt with. The Speaker is not doing much speaking these days, as he has refused to return a call from the Governor. He seems as perturbed with Deval as Sal Dimasi was.