4 Oct 2010

CNMI legislature no closer to passing budget

7:50 pm on 4 October 2010

The Northern Marianas Legislature says it is no closer to passing a budget and ending the government shutdown despite reaching a deal at the weekend.

More than 1,400 government employees considered non-essential are unable to report to work until a budget is passed.

The Senate and leaders from the House of Representatives met on Saturday and agreed on an eight-hour work cut per pay period and ten unpaid holidays.

The Senate President for the Legislature Paul Manglona says the House later reneged on the deal as the governer had rejected it.

"It's unfortunate because we have a House of Representatives that chooses not to think for itself. We came to an agreement, we were ready to come into session, back to back sessions, the Senate after the House. But then the administration came in and told them not to proceed with the agreement. So it's hard to deal with a legislative body that chooses not to think for itself. And so we're not any closer to an agreement."

Paul Manglona says the Senate will continue to find ways to meet with the House of Representatives and will ask it to make a decision based on its best judgement.