Rauner Reverses Decision on Some Cuts to State Child Care Assistance

Gov. Bruce Rauner relented on previous cuts he made to the state's Child Care Assistance Program in light of Democratic pressure Monday with an amendment that will allow thousands more children in low-income families back into the program.

In July, Rauner added cut income eligibility requirements for the child care program to 50 percent of the federal poverty level or less. The amendment added Monday will raise the income requirement to 162 percent of the federal poverty level.

The move, which Rauner's office credits to "bipartisan discussions with legislators," will help save the House from voting Tuesday on legislation that would reverse Rauner's enrollment freeze as well as deny him the authority to make similar cuts to the program in the future.

"This bipartisan agreement will allow us to avoid the unintended consequences and costs that SB 570 would have brought," Lance Trover, the governor's spokesperson, said in a statement. "By working together, we will be able to bring financial stability to an important program valued by members of both parties." 

Not everyone is satisfied with Rauner's concessions, however. SEIU Healthcare Illinois, a union that represents child care workers, issued a statement following Rauner's announcement saying the House should still hold the vote.

"Now, at the 11th hour and ONLY AFTER bipartisan public outcry across Illinois over the pain and suffering caused by cuts that have kicked 70,000 kids off child care, Bruce Rauner comes to the table," Keith Kelleher, the union's president, said in the statement. "His arbitrary actions, which should never have happened in the first place, show just why, deal or no deal, we still need Senate Bill 570 to pass tomorrow, to remove the ability for a governor, Democrat or Republican, to use unchecked executive power to destroy by rule those programs created by statue."

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