State House and Senate budget negotiators dragged the sputtering negotiating vehicle from the latest mud hole in which it was swamped on Wednesday, but not without a little tongue-lashing, finger wagging, and tart remarks from Senate Republicans who temporarily walked out of a negotiating session.
"You know, sometimes tempers flare," House Speaker Thom Tillis said after the contentious joint budget conference committee meeting.
There was a plus side. The toe-to-toe session ended up like one of those reflexive, if strained, sibling handshakes after a friendly, backyard wrestling match devolved into UFC combat. It lured House negotiators out of their budget bunkers into a compromise on viscous differences in lottery revenue projections to get the process moving again.
It is apparent the grinding task of hammering out the final details of the 2014-15 budget is beginning to fray some nerves.
A House decision to devote its full one-hour allotment of budget compromise discussion Wednesday morning to bringing in school superintendents, a principal, and a classroom teacher to push the version of the House education budget that has the backing of Gov. Pat McCrory only added the proverbial fuel to the fire.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown, R-Onslow, objected to the maneuver, and when Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, refused to pull the speakers from the agenda, Senate negotiators walked out.