Republican lawmakers so far sticking with budget

Republican lawmakers so far sticking with budget

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HELENA — Republicans leading final budget negotiations are signaling they have no intention to bargain with Democrats.

A panel charged with hashing out relatively small differences in Republican-led House and Senate budget plans largely focused on technical issues Tuesday. Democrats were stymied in attempts to restore social services.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer has said he will veto the budget bill as it stands.

Senate Minority Leader Carol Williams of Missoula says it is becoming clear the Republicans are marching the bill straight toward the governor's desk to see if he really will veto it.

The Republican budget plan cuts spending about 5 percent, although education funding for schools is still tied up in an internal GOP squabble. It also abandons about $100 million in federal money for programs aimed at the needy.

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