Tennessee budget deal falls apart

photo Jimmy Naifeh

Arkansas-Tennessee Live Blog

NASHVILLE - The Tennessee Legislature's $31.4 billion budget train came to a screeching halt Wednesday when a chasm opened up between House and Senate Republican leaders over a previously cut deal.

The cause? About $2.25 million in Senate Republicans' amendments for projects, some of them attacked by House minority Democrats in the House Finance Committee on Wednesday as local "pork barrel" spending.

Problems began when House Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh, D-Covington, pushed an amendment deleting a $200,000 grant for a higher education building in the hometown of Senate Education Commissioner Delores Gresham, R-Somerville.

Republicans sought to table the amendment. It failed, with several Republicans siding with Democrats.