House Speaker Michael Madigan scheduled a meeting with the full House of Representatives to discuss the "Rauner shutdown" on June 30, proving he is ready to fight the governor on a budget plan till the end.
The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday to coincide with the deadline for the new budget plan. If the lawmakers fail to come to an agreement, Illinois could experience its first state government shutdown in history.
Madigan called on "advocates of the elderly in need of medical care, the developmentally disabled, and others who will be negatively affected" by a shutdown to speak at the hearing.
"The House acted in May to avoid any disruption of a wide range of core programs and services important to middle-class and struggling families," Madigan said in a statement. "Those are the people who will be harmed by a shutdown."
Madigan and Rauner have been battling from day one to draft a budget that satisfies the governor's pro-business agenda and the House speaker's pro-union leanings. Their heated quarrels went public when Gov. Rauner last week began airing advertisements attacking Madigan and urging public support for the governor's budget plan.
Their arguments even extended into Chicago Public Schools territory this week. On Tuesday, the House failed to pass a bill that would extend the deadline for the district to pay $634 million to the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund, which is currently set for June 30. The bill, which was backed by Rauner and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, was expected to pass easily, but when it was rejected, Rauner pointed the finger at Madigan.
"The only reason the Speaker's Chicago caucus would vote against the Mayor's bill is because Madigan wanted to kill it," Lance Trover, a spokesperson for the governor, said in a statement following the decision.
Madigan, meanwhile, has incessantly attacked Rauner on his proposed budget cuts, setting the stage perfectly for an attack on a potential shutdown.
"Each day that passes without action by the governor creates unnecessary disruption and anxiety in every region of the state," Madigan said in a statement.
In addition to hearing from advocates for the elderly and disabled, state agency directors will also be invited to speak at the meeting Tuesday to discuss how their agencies plan to deal with a shutdown if a budget agreement is not reached by July 1.