HARRISBURG - On the 168th day of Pennsylvania's budget impasse, the House held a light voting session, approving, among other items, a resolution honoring a journeyman professional golfer.

Then lawmakers were dismissed.

If there was a breakthrough that might lead to a final budget sometime soon, leaders were guarding it like a matter of national security.

Asked how discussions among House Republicans were progressing, Speaker Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny) offered a one-word assessment.

"Interesting," he said before getting into an elevator. "I really don't have much more to say than that."

Majority Leader Dave Reed (R., Indiana) declined to comment following a closed-door caucus meeting.

The Senate last week approved nearly all of the budget-related bills necessary to enact a $30.8 billion spending plan negotiated with Gov. Wolf.

The House has so far stalled on passing - or even amending - many of the bills sent to them by the upper chamber.

Rank-and-file House members have said that the delay is because the Senate has not specified what taxes will be imposed or raised to pay for the long-overdue agreement.

"If you're serious, send us a tax plan and we'll try and pass it," said Rep. Stan Saylor (R., York), chairman of the House Education Committee. "But we're not passing a spending plan that you can't pay for."

The Senate, meanwhile, has said it will not put a tax plan up for a vote until House legislators pledge their support for other pieces of the so-called framework agreement struck with Wolf, which calls for $350 million in new funding for schools.

Rep. Bill Adolph (R., Delaware), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said staff members from all sides were scheduled to discuss a potential tax plan in meetings Tuesday night. He declined to elaborate.

"Just laying it all out, trying to see what package is necessary to pay for" the $30.8 billion spending bill, Adolph said.

Rep. Kate Harper (R., Montgomery) said those details would be key in figuring out if the framework could pass in the House. She also said some members were confused over how any new funding would be distributed to schools under the Senate's proposal.

"Everybody is scratching their heads," Harper said.

The House on Tuesday did act on one budget-related bill: the Senate-approved pension legislation.

A key House committee added language that would prohibit the state from reducing its required pension payment this year, and included a provision to make it easier for current lawmakers to keep their existing pensions.

Passed along party lines in committee, it was not immediately clear when the full chamber might vote on the measure, or whether the Senate would support the changes.

The question now becomes when lawmakers may put that item up for a full vote - and if other big-ticket items, such as the education code or the spending bill, might follow.

The House also took time Tuesday to approve minor bills. One was related to jury duty, another to the theft of metals. Representatives also passed a resolution honoring Rocco Mediate, the professional golfer and Pittsburgh-area native who turns 53 this week. That bill had two dozen cosponsors.

They were scheduled to return to session on Wednesday.

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