TRENTON – Hunkered up in the front office, Gov. Chris Christie’s team this morning brooded on the Democrats’ $30.6 billion budget as the majority party simultaneously prepared for the GOP governor to exact a line item as opposed to absolute or conditional vetoes.
Republican sources confirmed the line item is happening.
“I don’t see his play,” said one Democrat, speaking on condition of anonymity. “He doesn’t have an option.”
Rent in half by the governor on pension and benefits reform, Democrats now claim to be cemented up on the budget. They insist Christie won’t be able to pry any of them off for a conditionally vetoed redo. The fact that Christie already starts at least one man down in the Senate with state Sen. Mike Doherty (R-23) vowing to resist a document containing Abbott funding just compounds his trouble, according to gleeful Dems.
That leaves the governor in limbo – but for a line item, party sources insist.
Majority party members in part gave as evidence for lock step discipline Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver’s (D-34) game face budget speech. To project that kind of passion for the budget and then allow caucus members to walk off the reservation wouldn’t make sense, party sources say.
“Look, the governor got a win with health and pension reform, he was on Meet the Press last week, for God’s sake, and Sheila won’t post that bill (a conditionally vetoed budget),” said the source. “You make ($700 million) in cuts and you go home.”
Three GOP sources confirmed that the governor planned to exercise the line item option.