During the first full day of a state government shutdown during a budget battle between Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) and Gov. Chris Christie (R), who do you think is to blame?
Prieto and Christie have both refused to budge over a bill that would restructure Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, the state’s largest health insurer.
Prieto refuses to introduce the bill, calling it in a statement an “attempt to extort Horizon’s 3.8 million ratepayers” since the measure would give the state some control of the company’s $2.4 billion reserves – which would raise premiums for carriers.
Meanwhile, Christie has insisted that Prieto is playing “political games” and that Horizon is long overdue for some oversight.
Additionally, State Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) has said he won’t send the governor a $35 billion budget without the Horizon bill in tact.
The Assembly has voted on the budget, without the Horizon bill, twice already, but have only gotten 26 affirmative votes. The budget needs 41 votes to pass as other Assembly Democrats have also vowed to withhold their votes until the Horizon bill gets a green light.
As the highly publicized political stalemate continues, Prieto and Christie continue to trade personal shots both in the and on social media, as both elected officials are placing the blame on one another for the state’s current predicament.
The shutdown has closed state parks, such as Liberty State Park, moving Jersey City’s 4th of July celebration to Exchange Place, as state agencies such as the Department of Motor Vehicles.
— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) July 1, 2017
— Vincent Prieto (@VincentPrieto) July 1, 2017