(CBS) – Gov. Rauner took extraordinary steps Thursday to rally Republican lawmakers in his attempt to defeat a Democratic-sponsored school funding bill.
CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley has the latest from Springfield.
Rauner summoned all Republican lawmakers from the House and Senate for an hour-long meeting — the first of its kind in anyone’s memory.
“We’re a united group. We’re united with the governor,” Rep. Jim Durkin, House Minority Leader, said.
It’s Republican Rauner’s reaction to his defeat in the state budget battle and an attempt to prevent GOP defections on the override vote of his expected school-funding veto.
Republican Steve Andersson of Geneva deserted Rauner to vote for a state budget and says some party members may be tempted to do it again.
“My area schools will open. On the other hand, a lot of downstate districts — quite frankly, Republican downstate districts — may not open in the next four weeks,” he said.
For a second straight day, Rauner blasted Democrats for delaying and not sending him the school funding bill until Monday.
“This is outrageous behavior,” he said.
But Democrats attacked the governor for calling a special session where there’s nothing to do.
The Senate met about 15 minutes Thursday; the House, 8 minutes.
Democrats noted the governor promised an amendatory veto, which would gut the bill, but hasn’t outlined what he wants.
“We’re hoping that will trigger what is long overdue, which is a conversation with the governor about his plan, which today is secret,” state Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, said.
But Republicans make no secret why they oppose Senate Bill 1, claiming it’s too generous to Chicago.
“Chicago will get more out of whatever formula we have, but they’re not going to get a windfall,” Durkin said.
Both Democrats and Republicans promise schools will open on time, with each preparing to blame the other if they don’t.
The big showdown is set to start next week.