As the state’s budget impasse continues unabated, the leaders of the Democratic and Republican caucuses in the State House issued statements on the situation Saturday night.
House Speaker Mike Madigan, who has been targeted by Governor Bruce Rauner as the cause of the gridlock in Springfield, postponed a vote on a worker’s compensation bill in the Labor Committee, but promised to continue working toward a bipartisan solution with Republican lawmakers.
“Throughout this budget crisis, Democrats have worked to find common ground and accommodate the requests of Republicans whenever possible,” Madigan said in a statement. “We’ve also continually urged an ongoing dialogue on the budget and governor’s agenda. We will continue to do so in the hope that our good faith will facilitate the cooperation needed to pass a bipartisan budget.”
Lawmakers have until June 30 to pass a new budget, or the new fiscal year will begin without one in place. If that happens, a slew of cuts are scheduled to take place, including the halting of IDOT construction projects and the Powerball and Mega Millions lottery drawings both being pulled out of the state.
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin issued a statement of his own on the impasse, calling on Madigan and the Democrats to work toward a compromise to “finish the job.”
“With six days remaining in this fiscal year, I once again call upon Speaker Madigan to meet with me immediately to negotiate a resolution to the budget impasse,” Durkin said. “As Senate President Cullerton told Rick Pearson on WGN Radio last Sunday, ‘Madigan and Durkin should do what Radogno and Cullerton did: sit down and come up with a plan.’”
According to reports, Governor Rauner and Speaker Madigan can’t agree on which party leaders should be talking to one another, or when such meetings should take place. The two officials have not met since December, when Rauner ended bipartisan negotiations, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The inability to meet could have a disastrous impact on the state’s credit, as Illinois could become the first state to have its credit downgraded to “junk” status, according to S&P Global Rankings.
The Senate and House are currently in a special session convened by Governor Rauner to address the budget crisis, but the Senate adjourned after less than 20 minutes on Saturday, according to NBC 5’s Mary Ann Ahern.