POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Budget deal ends government shutdown

By Julie Daurio
Associate Producer

At the end of the third day of a state shutdown, legislative leaders announced they had reached a deal to fund the government.

Senate President Steve Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and Gov. Chris Christie came to an agreement on a bill to increase oversight of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the state’s largest health care provider.

The bill would cap Horizon’s excess profits and return that excess to policy holders. It also adds two additional public members to the board, one appointed by the Senate president, the other by the Assembly speaker. In addition, the bill requires greater oversight of Horizon by the Department of Banking and Insurance.

Gov. Christie had told legislative leaders he would veto a litany of Democratic spending priorities if the legislature did not deliver the Horizon oversight bill. With the bill in place, Christie says he will leave the Democratic priorities intact.

At midnight, the Senate and Assembly voted to pass the budget and the Horizon bill, effectively ending the government shutdown.

State beaches and parks will reopen tomorrow for the Fourth of July holiday.