Rauner, Lawmakers Remain Deadlocked On Budget; Time Is Short
Illinois lawmakers will spend Memorial Day in the state Capitol trying to fashion their first state budget in two years as the end-of-session deadline nears. Legislative leaders and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner met Sunday but reported no progress on breaking an 11-month deadlock on a state spending plan.
Gov. Bruce Rauner has danced around it before. But this time, he didn't flinch. Rauner says if it gets to his desk, he will reject in its entirety the only spending plan currently alive in the statehouse: a plan House Democrats approved last week.
"That's the bill that has a $7 billion implied deficit in it, I will veto that bill," he said.
Rauner has the option of only vetoing parts of it. Not using that tool sets up a new, election season blame game of who is at fault for potentially withholding state money from schools.
The governor's already accusing Democrats - primarily House Speaker Michael Madigan - of holding schools "hostage." That's the same word Madigan uses to defend the very same bill.
"The House budget does not hold hostage those that want an education, does not hold hostage those that want healthcare, does not hold hostage the vulnerable in our society," he said.
Madigan says lawmakers will continue to aim to reach compromise. But he also says the House will work through the remainder of summer -- a clear signal it's not going to happen by Tuesday's deadline.
Democrats hold majorities in the House and Senate. Any business conducted beginning Wednesday would require three-fifths majorities in both houses.
Other issues are pending too. They include an expansion of medical marijuana use, which passed the House Monday, as well as automatic voter registration.