CONCORD, N.H. —
As the New Hampshire Senate on Monday began a lengthy process of formulating a state budget for fiscal years 2018 and 2019, infighting continued in the House Republican ranks.
The House failed to adopt a budget after two days of House sessions last week, marking the first time since at least 1969 that the body failed to pass a spending plan. The budget bill and a related trailer bill were derailed in two separate votes by 66, and then 32 conservatives who joined Democrats in voting no.
House Speaker Shawn Jasper, R-Hudson, then quickly adjourned the House without the body having passed its version of a budget.
The state Senate Finance Committee took up the budget on Monday, hearing from Gov. Chris Sununu’s budget director and leaders of the House Finance Committee.
In the aftermath of last week’s bitter battle in the House, Jasper and a leader of the conservative New Hampshire House Freedom Caucus, which opposed the House leadership’s budget, criticized each other in emails sent to House members.
The emails were provided to WMUR Monday by a GOP source close to the process.
Jasper had said in a weekend published report that on the budget fight, he would not give in to “essentially terrorism.”
State Rep. JR Hoell, R-Dunbarton, of the Freedom Caucus on Sunday morning wrote an email to Jasper, which was copied to a number of House members.
In the email, Hoell noted that during the weekend, “an actual terrorist conducted a bombing attack at Coptic Christian churches in Egypt, killing 37 people and injuring more than 100.
“Making an equivalence between barbarism like this and what actually represents over one-third of the Republican caucus that deeply believes in limited government is both immoral and unjust.”
“I refuse to let you treat the conservatives, the wonderful men and women who have volunteered their time to serve at the State House, as political targets, when we are simply working to keep faith with the constituents who elected us,” Hoell wrote to Jasper.
Hoell called the comment “simply unacceptable, unfortunate and inappropriate,” and asked Jasper for a “retraction and an apology to the entire House.”
Jasper on Monday responded to Hoell in an email directed at use members.
“As usual, the member from Dunbarton is playing fast and loose with the facts,” Jasper wrote. “I have not referred to any member of the House as a terrorist. I have stated that the tactics being used by some members is essentially terrorism, that may have been a poor choice of words, but I am not going to play into the game of political correctness.
“What is going on is legislative terrorism; my other option was to call it legislative blackmail,” Jasper continued. “My definition of legislative terrorism is simply going around trying to blow up bills. I think that description is appropriate, you may disagree and I respect your right to do so.”
Jasper wrote: “I believe that I owe no one an apology, and I think that you all know that I have been personally attacked with using many different ugly terms over the past three years. I have never fired back at those individuals and I have no plans to do so. If members don’t feel they have been using legislative terrorism or blackmail then they should take no offense. I have never said that I was referring to all members who voted no” on the budget and trailer bills.
“I know that term does not apply to all members who voted no,” Jasper wrote. “When speaking in the well of the House, we…