With no state budget in sight and a $7.5 billion backlog of unpaid bills, state House Republicans tried to keep the House in session earlier this month. They were met with a quick response when Democrats called the motion out of order and adjourned.
Gov. Bruce Rauner chided Democrats for gaveling to adjourn until April, calling it a “dereliction of duty.” Democrats responded to claims of taking a vacation.
State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Aurora, said she was offended by the governor’s words. She told a friendly crowd at Aurora’s Hesed House, a homeless shelter facing a severe bill backlog due to lack of state aid, that she’s working every day to find solutions to the state’s funding crisis.
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“I think it’s just misinformation and spin,” Kifowit said. “The that only work gets done in Springfield is false.”
State Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Rochelle, made the motion to stay in session. He said the negotiating table is in Springfield, not back in representatives’ districts.
“We need to have votes on real bills,” Demmer said. “The only place we can have real votes is in Springfield.”
“When we’re all gathered together in Springfield it makes it a lot easier to sit down across the table with members of both parties and have negotiations,” Demmer said.
Though House Speaker Michael Madigan has repeatedly said the House is in continuous session, it will be empty until the first week of April.