GOP and DFL legislative leaders emerged from behind closed doors and spoke for the first time today saying a budget deal is still possible before a government shutdown at midnight. GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch said a framework is still doable and they’re making progress. House Speaker Kurt Zellers said “I think we’re very close.” Republicans renewed their request for Democratic Governor Mark Dayton to call them back into special session for a lights-on bill. The governor said he’d only do that with a budget deal.
DFL Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk also said a budget deal is “still within reach” yet tonight. Dayton’s spokesperson said the governor did not plan to come out to talk to the press at this time. Lawmakers and the governor have been in and out of talks all day. Individual lawmakers have been quietly standing by at the Capitol in case a special session is called. Small groups of protesters showed up early in the evening chanting “tax the rich, free the poor.”