HARRISBURG – With PA nearing almost a week without a budget, Gov. Josh Shapiro called on the Republican-controlled Senate to return to the state Capitol to finalize a spending plan. The governor disputed Republicans’ accusations that he went back on his word about the $45 billion spending plan. Rather, Shapiro said it was a failure of the Senate and Democrat-controlled House to reach a deal on the final budget, and blamed Senate Republicans for sending the other chamber a bill that they knew might fail. Republicans have not said when they would return, but suggested the budget fight is not over. Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward rejected Shapiro’s portrayal of negotiations, saying the GOP gave him “all the goodies he wanted” in return for a $100 million program to offer scholarships to students in the state’s lowest-performing schools so they can access better educational opportunities. Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman commented that “we have seen a fundamental weakness and breakdown of leadership with the governor’s willingness to jettison one of his top priorities and acquiesce to the House Democrats’ demand that educational opportunities not be afforded to every child of God. We remain steadfast in our work to restore confidence in this process, so that we may complete all necessary components of the budget, and demonstrate that divided government is not dysfunctional government.”