House Speaker Richard Corcoran insisted Tuesday that he still hoped to complete a budget deal in time to adjourn on schedule Friday — but other lawmakers and Tallahassee’s lobbyists have begun clearing their calendars for next week.
“I think it’s 90 percent likely,” Corcoran said of chances the negotiations with the Senate could be wrapped up that day, conceivably allowing a timely adjournment.
Sen. Jeff Brandes wasn’t counting on it.
“Monday — it’s my best guess. That’s my math,” Brandes said.
It takes 36 hours to prepare a compromise Appropriations Act for presentation to House members and senators, he said.
“It’s a complicated process, even once it’s all agreed to,” he said.
That would be in line with lobbyists’ scuttlebutt, according to one health care advocate. He predicted a budget deal would go to the members by Friday, giving them the weekend to review the bill.
Sen. Rob Bradley, who’s participating in negotiations over environmental spending, argued against selling legislative staff short.
“They have magical power to produce these bills quickly. It’s a complicated task, but it’s not impossible,” Bradley said.
A deal Tuesday would leave the House and Senate with the rest of the week to consider conforming bills, Corcoran said.
Asked which bills, apart from the budget, he’d be willing to consider if the Legislature extends, Corcoran said, “You can ask me that if we get there.”
What kind of overtime was he considering?
“We’re not. I told you, we’re hopeful we’ll get done,” Corcoran said.
“Last time I checked, I think every single conforming bill I’ve ever voted for was done on probably Wednesday, Thursday,” he told reporters.
The biggest hold-up was reimbursement levels for hospitals treating indigent patients under Medicaid, Corcoran said.
The Trump administration has promised enough money to, with a state match, provide $1.5 million for Florida’s Low Income Pool program, but House leaders want to see the money before they agree how to spend it.