New Jersey lawmakers at impasse over budget as midnight deadline looms

 New Jersey State Capitol in Trenton (Alan Tu/WHYY)

New Jersey State Capitol in Trenton (Alan Tu/WHYY)

New Jersey Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto has opened voting on a budget in an effort to pass the spending plan before a state government shutdown but lawmakers are deadlocked.

Prieto said Friday he will leave the voting session open but declined to say how late.

At midnight the current fiscal year budget expires. Republican Gov. Chris Christie has said he would shut down government if he does not receive a budget.

Voting was stalled on Friday with 26 votes in favor, 25 against and 24 abstentions. Forty-one votes are needed to pass the budget.

Prieto says he blames those abstaining for closing down the government. Christie has pinned the blame on Prieto because the speaker will not agree to legislation making over the state’s largest health insurer.

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