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Dems are playing “a highly distasteful game of chicken… by putting the opening of the school year in jeopardy”

For 57 days, House and Senate Democrats under the thumb of Mike Madigan have been holding Illinois schools hostage.


Because they want to take money out of downstate and suburban classrooms to bail out of Chicago Public Schools.

Even though the legislation passed on May 31st, Madigan’s Democrats have been holding Senate Bill 1 from reaching Governor Rauner’s desk because they know the governor will block the Chicago bailout. Editorial boards across Illinois have been calling out the Democrats for their hostage-taking.

From The News-Gazette editorial:
Attached to consumer goods are tags that read “Made in ….”

If the impending showdown over school-funding legislation carried a tag, it would read “Made in Springfield.”

…That’s because Democrats have been holding the legislation in the Senate since May 31. After passing legislation, the General Assembly normally sends the bill to the governor’s office for further action.

So when Gov. Rauner urges legislative Democrats to let the bill go and they ignore him, he’s the one acting to protect parents and schoolchildren from delays in school openings. Why should they be collateral damage to a political brouhaha?

That’s why he called the special legislative session that began Wednesday.

To highlight their intransigence, Democrats lambasted the idea of any kind of legislative gathering. House Speaker Michael Madigan accused Gov. Rauner of engaging in theatrics. Cullerton, Madigan’s mini-me, professed not to understand the governor’s action and said they should have a meeting to discuss it.

Majority Democrats in the House and Senate want to force Rauner to accept the Chicago-friendly funding provisions — $400 million-plus in benefits — as the price of getting the rewrite of the state’s school funding formula that he supports. They figure if they can waste sufficient time to threaten the opening of K-12 schools, either Rauner or enough legislative Republicans will cave on the issue.

…So if a special session is what’s needed to redirect legislators’ attention and break the logjam, that’s not a stunt. It’s a tactic, just as the Democrats’ decision to hold S.B. 1 is a tactic.

Rauner wants the bill now so he can use his amendatory veto power to excise the Chicago-friendly provisions.

…Gov. Rauner is hoping his planned action will be sustained in the Legislature, most particularly the House, where Speaker Madigan lost his super-majority in the last election. Madigan will be looking for four Republicans he can buy off to be able to overturn Rauner’s amendatory veto, the tactic he used to pass his version of the state budget/tax hike plan over the governor’s veto.

So it’s essentially a highly distasteful game of chicken the Democrats are playing by putting the opening of the school year in jeopardy.


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