Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie
House Minority Leader Themis Klarides and House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz last May (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

HARTFORD, CT — House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz said if the Republicans don’t begin negotiating the state budget soon, he’s going to adjourn and let all the legislation on the calendar die.

That’s the nuclear option.

Or, if Republicans won’t negotiate, he’s going to walk down the hall to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office and negotiate with him.

However, it’s unclear if that threat would actually help Aresimowicz, whose Democratic majority holds a slim 79-71 vote majority in the House. The Senate is split 18-18 so Democrats need Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman to break a tie. Based on that split, the power shifts to the minority party as the clock runs out on the legislative session.

Last year, both parties ended up kicking Malloy out of the room in order to reach a budget deal four months after their deadline and only after passing a Republican budget proposal with the help of a handful of Democrats.

Aresimowicz said he’s not interested in adjourning May 9 without adjusting the two-year budget, which has revenues that are running $1.5 billion above projections.

“We’re gonna explore all the options,” he insisted Tuesday during a press conference in his Capitol office.

In the meantime, they’re still waiting for Republicans to start negotiating adjustments to the 2019 budget.

“We’ve been sitting here waiting a week-and-a-half for those negotiations,” Aresimowicz said.

House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, said it has to happen or the legislature will be back in special session and that’s nothing anyone wants to do with political conventions and campaigns on the horizon.

“There are must-haves on all sides,” Ritter said.

Aresimowicz said he went through the Republican budget and believes about $1 billion of their spending cuts are “against the law.”

“For them to sit back and say that budget answers all the questions that are out there is just not true,” Aresimowicz said.

He said if Republicans plan to spend the rest of the session in a back room writing an amendment to whatever budget bill is called, then that’s just “another political stunt.”

Aresimowicz said he will adjourn sine die and allow all the legislation that’s not the state budget to die.

“Don’t push fate. I’ll adjourn us sine die just for the budget and all the things that they want will die too,” Aresimowicz said.

Klarides said that’s his “prerogative” as speaker of the House.

She said the Democratic Party has yet to give Republicans a budget that includes both spending and revenues. She said the Democratic spending plan increases spending by about $300 million, but doesn’t say where it gets the additional money.

Aresimowicz admitted that the Democrats don’t have a revenue package to match their spending plan, but believes they just need to get into a room and start negotiating.

The legislative session adjourns at midnight May 9.

Aresimowicz’s comments come during the last five minutes of the video.

House leadership presser before today’s session

Posted by on Tuesday, May 1, 2018