HARRISBURG - Following a two-day break, House members returned to the Capitol on Sunday night and began positioning several budget-related bills for a full chamber vote, a step toward potentially ending the five-month-old budget stalemate.
Still, significant questions remained about issues that have loomed large throughout the impasse, including which taxes might be raised to fund a $30.8 billion budget proposed by Gov. Wolf and Senate Republicans, and how $350 million in new school funding would be distributed as part of that plan.
House leaders "have been working through the weekend to try to go through any tweaks or changes we may want to make to any of these proposals," said Majority Leader Dave Reed (R., Indiana).
Reed spoke Sunday night after a key House committee approved the state's Administrative Code and Welfare Code, both of which must be passed by the full chamber to enact a budget.
The Senate already has approved those bills, and a series of others that Wolf has said he will sign to bring the state's historic impasse to an end.
Still, the House would have to agree to the Senate's version of the bills, or propose changes that the other sides would accept, to strike a final agreement.
And in an otherwise mundane Sunday night, there was new evidence showing just how difficult that might be.
In the Administrative Code, for example, House lawmakers stripped a Senate proposal that would have legalized companies such as Uber and Lyft in Philadelphia for 2016.
Stephen Miskin, spokesman for House Republicans, said some members wanted more time to study solutions to the issue, rather than including it in the budget process.
But Drew Crompton, the Senate's top Republican lawyer, said Senators had fought to include that provision, and that axing too many legislative priorities could have an impact on how or when an overall deal is reached.
"When you move one chess piece, you knock over a few other ones," he said.
Reed said House members were due back Monday to discuss the Senate bill that would authorize $30.8 billion in spending.
The reception from House Republicans - many of whom voted recently for a smaller spending plan - could go a long way toward determining how or when a final agreement might be struck.
Reed said his goal was to have a deal in place by week's end.