AUGUSTA — House of Representatives votes on the budget were delayed for at least one day Wednesday as lawmakers worked to prepare amendments and reach a compromise on unpopular elements of the bill.

Voting is likely to begin late this afternoon, according to Jim Cyr, spokesman for House Speaker Robert Nutting, R-Oakland.

Conservatives and Gov. Paul LePage object to part of the budget that continues a tax on paid insurance claims at the current level, rather than reducing the tax as scheduled. Also, they have said they don’t like a 1 percent across-the-board cut because it doesn’t address what they describe as overspending at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Several amendments are expected to be offered, with five posted on the Legislature’s website as of Wednesday afternoon.

Deliberations on the House floor aren’t expected until 4 p.m., because of a previously scheduled morning address by Maj. Gen. Bill Libby of the Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management. That will be followed by committee work and the late afternoon House session.

Lawmakers are seeking to address an immediate $120 million hole in the DHHS budget. The budget shifts money, reduces funding to hospitals and Dirigo Health, and cuts two MaineCare health insurance programs to close the gap.

Susan Cover — 620-7015

[email protected]

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