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Senate President Steve Sweeney. Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

Sweeney tone lightens as budget deadline nears

‘I’m not concerned, it’s Monday. We have all week,’ says Senate President

By Nikita Biryukov, June 25 2018 6:44 pm

Senate President Steve Sweeney finished Monday with a tone that was far more conciliatory than the one he held Thursday, when tensions between Gov. Phil Murphy and legislative leaders were at their highest.

“The governor had announced some numbers today, and we’re looking at his numbers. We don’t feel we’re that far away, so we’ll look,” Sweeney said during a press gaggle Monday evening. “There’s some work to do in digesting their numbers, but we’ll look at them and we’ll go from there.”

Sweeney’s statements appear to indicate that a meeting between Murphy and a handful of the legislature’s Democratic leaders earlier Monday afternoon went well.

While Sweeney said it was “very safe” to assume that no deal had been reached during the meeting, which lasted roughly 50 minutes, the cooling of the Sweeney’s rhetoric is a good sign for negotiations.

Those negotiations are beginning to run short on time. With only five days remaining until the budget deadline, legislators will have to move fast to avoid embarrassment and a potentially-costly Fourth of July weekend shutdown.

“I’m not concerned, it’s Monday,” Sweeney said. “We have all week.”

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