The Latest: Christie defends use of beach closed to public


TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The Latest on New Jersey’s budget stalemate (all times local):

Gov. Chris Christie is defending his use of a beach closed to the public during New Jersey’s government shutdown, saying he had previously announced his vacation plans and the media had simply “caught a politician keeping his word.”

The Republican governor was photographed Sunday by NJ.com at Island Beach State Park sitting on a beach chair in sandals and a T-shirt before flying to talk to reporters in Trenton.

Christie tells WTXF-TV in Philadelphia on Monday that he had earlier said he planned to be at the state-owned governor’s beach house regardless of whether there was a shutdown.

He says the media “caught a politician keeping his word” and adds New Jersey “has beaches for 120 miles” so there are plenty of options for anyone wanting a beach day as the Fourth of July approaches.

New Jersey’s budget stalemate between Republican Gov. Chris Christie and the Democrat-controlled Legislature is smoldering with the state government shut down and state parks closed to the public as the Fourth of July approaches.

Christie spent part of Sunday lounging with his family at a beach in a state park he had ordered closed. He said he’d sign any budget lawmakers sent to him and blamed the shutdown of nonessential services on Democratic Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto.

Christie says he’d consider the Democratic budget along with legislation to overhaul the state’s biggest health insurer, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield. He says without the Horizon legislation he has called for he’d line item veto $350 million of the Democratic priorities.

Prieto is holding open a deadlocked vote on the Assembly floor on the $34.7 billion budget.

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