With a budget deadline looming, Illinois so-called budget battle is turning into an all-out war, to the point where some Democrats are defecting and a Republican Congressman felt compelled to weigh in.
Budget talks scheduled for Friday morning have already broken down according to Rep. John Cabello (R-Machesney Park), and the House has adjourned. This after Democrats led by Speaker Mike Madigan passed a budget Thursday that calls for $40 billion in spending, which they concede is $7 billion out of balance. The budget bill was 500 pages long, and Republicans complained it was dropped in their laps just two hours before a vote was called.
Every Republican voted against the budget bill, and they were joined by a surprising number of Democrats. Seven Democrats openly defied the Speaker by voting ‘no’. Rockford Democratic Rep. Litesa Wallace voted for the budget bill.
The Senate now gets to look at what the House passed, where Republicans are already denouncing Madigan’s move. “It’s an irresponsible budget,” Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) said Thursday, “and again, it’s one of the things that the voters I think get frustrated by when government pulls these kinds of stunts.”
Sen. Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) is keeping an open mind. “Not sure what the timeline was in the House and how it got passed…all I know is we have it now in the Senate and it’s time to take a look at it. We still have until Tuesday to hopefully try to hammer out an agreement.”
Stadelman’s Congressman, however, is not. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL 16th) had kept out of the politics of the budget battle, but was so concerned about what happened in the House, he urged Democrats to oust Madigan from the Speaker’s role.
“Forcing an unbalanced budget down the throats of his colleagues and then abruptly adjourning – this is not leadership,” Rep. Kinzinger wrote. “I would urge my democrat friends to find new leadership for the good of the state and the people of Illinois.”
That won’t happen of course, but it appears what likely will happen now is no budget until at least after the November elections. Governor Bruce Rauner could use line item vetoes in an attempt to balance the Democrats’ budget, but that appears unlikely. Madigan could attempt to override the Governor’s full veto, but that would require every Democrat voting with him, and it is clear right now he doesn’t have the votes. Madigan also doesn’t have the support necessary to pass a tax increase to fund a $40 billion state budget.
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