- Associated Press - Friday, July 7, 2017

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Rhode Island’s weeklong budget standoff shows no sign of easing with Democratic House and Senate leaders feuding over who bears responsibility for the impasse.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello says the $9.2 billion budget won’t pass unless the Senate returns and removes an amendment it added that would block further increases in reimbursement to towns for lost car-tax revenue if state revenue drops.

Mattiello says the amendment was sprung on the House without warning and accuses Senate President Dominick Ruggerio of breaking a handshake agreement over the spending plan.

Ruggerio disputes that and tells WPRI-TV he hopes “cooler heads” will prevail.

The Providence Journal reports that a dispute over a temporary exclusion for the construction industry from the state’s proposed paid-leave mandate may have contributed to the breakdown of talks at the Statehouse.

The government is operating at last year’s spending levels.

The Rhode Island Office of Management and Budget sent a memo to state agencies on Friday saying that many programs will have to curtail spending, according to the Providence Journal.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo reiterated on Friday that the government will continue to operate, but said it gets harder the longer the gridlock continues.

“I’m going to do everything I can, the best I can, to run the government and make sure people get what they deserve in terms of government services,” she said. “In the meantime, I’m asking the House and Senate if they can get together and put their differences aside.”

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