Florida Senate Appropriations Chairman JD Alexander took a verbal bat to House Speaker Dean Cannon, saying his fellow Republican is manipulating the budget process and is trying to exploit Senate President Mike Haridopolos' run for U.S. Senate.
"The Senate President has tried to everything possible to collegially work with a Speaker who has done everything but seeking a win-win," Alexander told reporters in explaining a budget impasse (more here).
Alexander said Cannon doesn't want to deal with him because "I can figure out his gamesmanship pretty quickly." He said Cannon used his understanding of the budget to get Haridopolos to seem to agree to issues that aren't workable.
"He pulls that kind of stunt," Alexander said. Asked if Cannon is trying to use Haridopolos Senate run against, Alexander said "he's attempting to."
Alexander tacitly acknowledged that he reversed some policy decision that the House had thought were agreements because of Cannon's craftiness.
"The President had had some discussions that went beyond what I felt like the Senate could possibly accept in an effort to accomodate the demands of the Speaker," Alexander said.
But to the House, it sounds like Alexander is usurping the power of Haridopolos. House budget chairwoman Denise Grimsley said it's unclear who the House is dealing with.
“It seems that the president and the Senate budget chairman are not communicating. I’m not sure who’s in charge,” she said.
Grimsley said she hasn't dealt with Alexander since Tuesday. She said he kept moving the Senate's position. After she made an offer on Tuesday, he said it wasn't good enough.
"He pretty much told me he was putting it in the trash. He was rejecting it. He was throwing it in the trash. He didn’t appreciate the offer," she said.
He then made an offer in which "we moved farther apart on numbers... I didn't know how to respond to that."