CHICAGO (CBS) — The Democratic state lawmaker who thwarted House Speaker Michael Madigan’s plan to overrule Gov. Bruce Rauner on two crucial votes this week said he hopes his action helps bring more compromises in Springfield.
Rep. Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago) admitted he hasn’t spoken to Madigan in a while.
“I miss the speaker. He should call more often,” he said.
That’s not likely after Dunkin refused to vote on two measures that would have nullified Rauner’s changes to rules for subsidized child care programs, and for services for the elderly and disabled. Although the governor has reversed course on those issues, because he used his executive authority to do so, he could shift gears again now that votes to override his authority have failed.
Dunkin said he was supporting a compromise from the governor, who agreed to loosen rules that significantly reduced the number of low-income children eligible for subsidized child care, and backed away from plans to cut the number of elderly and disabled people who qualify for state aid.
“I’m not going to retreat from talking with my Republicans, my Democratic friends, including the governor; especially if all we want to talk about is getting to a solution,” he said.
He insisted if he had not sided with Rauner, the compromise on state subsidized child care and services for the elderly and disabled would have collapsed.
“Which would parents want to have? Providers want to have? Their children going to child care with money in the bank in the state budget for that, or nothing?” he said.
Rauner’s decision to roll back the child care cuts came as Madigan was preparing to call a vote to restore full funding for the program, which would have put Rauner in the position of either having to veto a measure that would increase child care subsidies, or allow lawmakers to reduce his executive authority.
Dunkin insisted if more Democrats broke ranks and sought compromise with Rauner, the months-long budget stalemate would end.
“The people across the state – whether they’re Democrat, whether they’re Republican, or if they have a sense of independence like myself – they want us to do our job, and to get something done, and that’s what I’m for,” he said.