CHICAGO — Illinois Senate leaders are raising concerns about legislation passed by the House and supported by Gov. Bruce Rauner that halts cost-of-living pay raises for Illinois lawmakers in the current fiscal year.
The 101-to-1 House vote July 29 marked a rare showing of bipartisan cooperation as the freshman GOP governor and the General Assembly's Democratic majority remain gridlocked over a budget for the fiscal year that began July 1.
House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, portrayed the vote as a continued attempt on Democrats' part to meet the governor "halfway" on his demands. Rauner and Madigan have traded frequent barbs over the impasse. Democrats passed a $36.3 billion budget short $4 billion in needed revenue. Rauner has said he won't talk about new taxes to stave off cuts until lawmakers approve a series of business related reforms and governance proposals that Democrats oppose.
"We are involved in a historic struggle between two branches of government," Madigan said on the House floor ahead of the vote. "And I repeat again, this bill is just another effort to meet the governor half way."
Rauner spokesman Lance Trover said in a statement: "Gov. Rauner appreciates today's action in the House and thanks all those members who showed leadership on this issue. We encourage President Cullerton to swiftly move this legislation to the governor's desk for his signature."
The Senate returns to session on Aug. 4 but a spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said the office is reviewing whether rescinding the pay increases would be legal based on prior court rulings that concluded legislative salaries can't be altered mid-term based on constitutional language.