Text Size
Login
config

Senate President urges Republicans to end the impasse (VIDEO)

Senate President John J. Cullerton

The state’s lingering budget stalemate could end quickly if Republican lawmakers would prioritize a balanced budget deal over their political allegiance to Governor Bruce Rauner, Senate President John J. Cullerton told reporters on Friday.

“This could all be over if the will is there,” Cullerton said at a Capitol news conference. His comments come as the state creeps ever closer to a third year without a budget under Rauner, who the Wall Street Journal recently dubbed ‘Governor Junk.’

“The pressure is really on the Republicans in the House, and I think they really want to get this done as well,” said Cullerton.

The Illinois Senate approved a balanced budget and reform plans last month, but the Illinois House has not yet reached agreement on the budget plan. With the initial May 31 deadline past, it now requires 71 votes in the 118-member House to approve a budget deal. That gives the political minority Republicans a share of the driver’s seat.

If Republicans could reach a bipartisan deal with Democrats in the House, that deal could be added onto the framework the Senate already passed and quickly approved, perhaps even in a day. Instead of negotiating a deal, Rauner and his Republican allies have focused on a new series of proposals that not only require far longer to get approved but are also inherently out of balance since they forgot to file any proposal to pay for the spending.

Cullerton called for “an intervention” among Republicans in the House to work on a balanced budget and get it approved before the state’s budget year runs out next week.

The Senate President also derided as a “political stunt” a series of Special Sessions the governor ordered to force lawmakers back to the Capitol, even though the Senate already addressed all the issues he listed.

“Everything the special session would do, we have done in the Senate,” Cullerton said. “I think they were unfortunately designed to be a political stunt to give the governor cover.”

Cullerton also criticized the governor for again intervening and pulling Republicans out of a planned meeting of legislative leaders. The Senate President said these meetings are key because the four leaders have a history of being able to work together to get results.