- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 25, 2017

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Senate President Dominick Ruggerio and House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello met Tuesday amid an impasse between the two Democratic-held chambers over Rhode Island’s $9.2 billion budget.

House spokesman Larry Berman said the two had a brief meeting in Mattiello’s office

“They expect to meet again in the near future,” he said.

Senate spokesman Peter Capineri declined to comment other than to confirm the meeting.

Earlier Tuesday, Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo pushed for a vote this week to end the standoff, saying passing a budget this week is her top priority.

“I don’t want them to get through this week without a budget,” she said. “Next week, Aug. 1, next Tuesday is an important day. That’s when we start sending out increased aid for schools all around the state, increased aid for cities and towns. Let’s pass a budget this week so that we can make that possible.”

Rhode Island has been operating without a budget since July 1, after a disagreement between the House and Senate over the details of a car tax cut that was Mattiello’s top priority. The 25-day stalemate is causing uncertainty in local governments and school districts as state government operates at last year’s spending levels.

A spokesman for Ruggerio told WPRI-TV he met with his leadership team Monday as they decide how to proceed.

The two Democratic leaders also met last week, their first meeting since the standoff began June 30.

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