Mark Dayton and Republican leadership agreed on a deal that would end the state shutdown, but not everyone's on board.
With no special session today, the shutdown, now 18 days old and the longest state freeze-out in modern U.S. history, will stretch at least another day -- if not longer. Maybe a lot longer.
Dayton met with Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers over the weekend, with the plan to have a detailed deal in place by this morning. Instead, the governor and GOP leaders issued a joint statement yesterday that included the phrase "considerable progress," but doesn't give much hope for a quick vote to end the lockout.
While they toiled, legislators wrung their hands and hinted that even when a final bill is penned, there might not even be votes to pass it.
The joint statement puts a positive spin on the ongoing negotiation.
"Work on the detailed budget bills continues to move in a positive direction, with an urgent focus on getting Minnesotans back to work. For the last three days, the Governor, Legislative leaders, committee chairs, commissioners and staff have worked around the clock on legislative language that reflects Thursday's agreement. Considerable progress has been made. A special session will be called as soon as our work is completed, and all bills have been reviewed and agreed upon."But its vagueness doesn't mean much, given that the same statement -- "a special session will be called as soon as our work is completed" -- could have been put out Thursday night. Legislators aren't being too specific, either, but their statements only add to the gloomy outlook.
Republican Sen. John Howe told the Star Tribune that there are still complications holding up the bill, without giving any hint of what they are.
"It's a difficult situation," Howe said. "There are difficulties with the details and difficulties with the votes."
Dayton tried to bring some levity to the situation, saying, "I think we are getting closer, but as Yogi Berra said, 'It ain't over until it's over.'"
With the way the negotiation to end the shutdown is dragging on, the more apt Yogi quote might be, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."