Plan to release federal money stalls in IL budget battle

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A plan to release stalled federal money to help distressed programs has hit a possible stumbling block in Springfield.

The Illinois Senate passed a spending bill last week affecting only the federal funds. For a while it appeared that all sides in the dispute appeared to agree that money from Washington should be released to those agencies that need it. However, on Tuesday morning the apparent agreement fell apart.

House Speaker Michael Madigan said he now wants to amend the senate bill to include more state monies tied up in the budget dispute. In a statement, Madigan said, "We believe funding for these programs, which can be delivered despite the lack of a state budget in place, is needed before the measure is sent to the governor."

Governor Bruce Rauner, who supported the senate bill, said he won't sign off on the release of any more state money until the budget is balanced and Democrats agree to his pro-business, anti-union reforms.

"Speaker Madigan and the Governor are acting like kids," Representative Bobby Rush, (D) Chicago, said.

Congressmen Rush and Danny Davis, who appeared at ceremony urging 31st Street be renamed for the late Margaret Burroughs, are outraged that $5 billion federal they helped authorize for Illinois are stalled by the Madigan-Rauner showdown.

"This blinkin' business and who blinks first is not good for the state of Illinois," Rep. Danny Davis, (D) Chicago, said.

Most of the frozen federal money is aimed at social services programs, including food for low-income pregnant women and their children. In the senate, republicans and Democrats joined to support the release of monies from Washington.

"Hey, let's send the federal money on through. That doesn't hurt our budget and it helps people get through this crisis," State Senator Matt Murphy, (R) Palatine, said.

Commenting on Madigan's amendment, a Rauner spokesman wrote, "Unfortunately, Speaker Madigan continues to play games with taxpayer money and is trying to force through higher state spending with no budget."

"What the speaker wants to do is put a poison pill in that uses state money that frankly we don't currently have without doing anything to control costs and that's going to blow the whole thing up," Murphy said.
Related Topics:
politicsBruce RaunerbudgetSpringfield
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