New Jersey Will End Government Shutdown That Closed Beaches

Lawmakers said a new budget was a "win for everyone."

Lawmakers in New Jersey announced an end to the state’s government shutdown late Monday that compelled Gov. Chris Christie to furlough about 30,000 workers and shutter local beaches and parks during Independence Day weekend.

The state’s government has been closed since Saturday after legislators were unable to pass a new budget that included a demand by Christie to be given more control over New Jersey’s largest health insurer, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield. Christie had refused to approve any deal without being granted more authority over the enterprise ― including the ability to use some of its financial reserves to battle opioid addiction ― but both sides announced they had forged a compromise over the issues.

State beaches and parks should be open on July 4 and government employees will be able to return to work after the holiday, NJ.com reported.

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney (D) announced the deal during a news conference, saying lawmakers had spent “the entire day ... hammering out details of a horizon deal.”

“This is the best budget we’ve seen in 10 years. It provides for a lot of people,” he said.

His counterpart in the state Assembly, Vincent Prieto (D) called the deal a “win for everyone.”

“I stood my ground for good reason ― we must always put the people of New Jersey first,” he said in a statement. “With this agreement, we have done exactly that.”

Christie did not appear at the news conference announcing the deal on Monday, CNN reported, but said he would hold his own later that evening.

Christie found himself the subject of derision this weekend after vacationing at the governor’s summer house with family and friends, including time spent lounging on a beach he ordered closed to the public. Photos captured of Christie and his guests at New Jersey’s Island Beach State Park led to a spate of criticism, including from his own running mate, who called the behavior “beyond words.”

The governor has defended his actions and slammed the media for its coverage of the incident, saying the outlet that published the photos would surely “get a Pulitzer for this one.”