Despite his pledge earlier to have the House remain in continuous session, and to meet every Wednesday in June, for the second consecutive week, the Speaker decided to cancel Wednesday’s session, due he says to allow those working toward a budget agreement to do so without interruption.
Statement from the Speaker: “Legislators from the House and Senate continue on Tuesday to meet in bipartisan working groups on a number of issues, including workers’ compensation, collective bargaining and working to reach an agreement to end the state budget impasse.
These groups continue to meet at the request of Governor Rauner and Republican legislative leaders, and the Speaker believes these discussions should continue uninterrupted, that all sides should focus on the progress that has been made, and allow the working groups to continue so we can work together to end the budget impasse quickly.
Therefore, the House will not be in session on Wednesday, June 15.”
The cancellation last week of the House session, was cause for
Gov Rauner and two GOP lawmakers to condemn the House for failing to meet. At the time, the Governor said the House should be in every day, and attacked the Speaker for failing to meet his own agenda of being in actual session on “every Wednesday in June.” At that time, the Gov and Republican lawmakers claimed they believed Speaker Madigan actually wanted to force a government crisis, as a political tool to use in the fall elections.
That was then followed by a news conference by Senate President Cullerton, who noted the Gov was not helping to build an environment of trust by holding press conferences and attacking those with whom he was going to have to come to some agreement, to form a budget.
Unlike the budget standoff of the Summer of 2015, when there WAS A BUDGET PASSED, this year, NO budget was passed by the Spring session of the legislature. And therefore, Gov Rauner cannot sign a portion of the budget that he wants to have funded — as he did last year when he signed off on funding for elementary and high school education. The Gov last summer also signed off on the state taking Federal funds, to go toward highway construction, and other transportation costs.
Unless a budget is passed by the start of the new fiscal year, which begins on July 1, a series of even greater financial stress will hit the state. Highway construction that is currently underway, will come to a halt, as the state will no longer have the legal authority to spend money, without a budget which provides the legal foundation for the state to apply taxpayer funds to projects.
For more information on these issues, please view our coverage of Comptroller Munger’s June 9 press conference, and the press conference held by the State Chamber. These stories are available on this site’s home page, in the top segment of TOP STORIES.