With just one day before the end of a 30-day overtime session, House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan said the House and Senate proposals remained far apart. He recalled that Gov. Jay Inslee had said at the end of the regular session more than a month ago that both sides were "light years apart."
"I would say we're still somewhere out in space," Sullivan said.
Inslee is expected to immediately call another special session starting Wednesday to keep lawmakers working. Inslee spokesman David Postman said he didn't expect a deal on the budget within the next few days, in part due to Senate efforts to make policy changes along with balancing the budget.
"I think it's going to be tough," he said. "We saw one side move a lot farther than the other, and I think the reassertion of these policy bills that late in the game makes it a lot harder, there's no doubt."
It's not clear how negotiators are going to find agreement before the end of June, when the current budget cycle ends. Senate leaders have insisted on the passage of some policy bills and opposed new ways to raise revenue. Democrats and Inslee have pressed for more tax money.
To prepare for the worst case scenario, the House voted Monday to approve a temporary capital budget plan to ensure that crews would continue working on previously approved infrastructure projects even in the event of a government shutdown. House Republican Leader Richard DeBolt voted for the measure but expressed concern about the tone of such an effort.
"We're setting the table for failure in Washington state today," DeBolt said. "We're telling everybody we're going to fail in advance."