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*** UPDATED x1 - “All funding for research” removed *** Did Madigan kill diabetes research funding out of revenge?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

* Things got pretty tense in the House yesterday, and it escalated a bit when the House Republicans admitted that they were refusing to vote for the budget plan because Speaker Madigan was pushing a pension cost shift proposal they didn’t like

…Madigan and Cross sparred hours earlier, with Cross saying that Republicans would not support a state budget plan that they had negotiated with Democrats because of the speaker’s decision to push for the cost shift.

“We want to do pensions, but we have to do it right and without taxing Downstate and suburban property taxpayers,” Cross said on the House floor. “For that reason, you will not see us supporting a budget.”

But Madigan chastised Cross for trying to link the state budget to pension reforms.

“I did not take the position that I would not adopt a budget for the entire state of Illinois unless I got some other issue I selected,” Madigan said angrily.

* And then it got even more intense when the House Republicans accused the Democrats of playing nasty budget games

Shortly before his about-face, Madigan endured a bitter GOP attack for allegedly “zeroing out” juvenile diabetes funding in what one House Republican described as “hardball” punishment against Cross and Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), who both have diabetic children and who opposed the Madigan pension-reform package.

“Speaker Madigan, who is the same as the rest of us, is playing hardball in some kind of game after we’ve all worked so hard for so many weeks,” yelled state Rep. Jim Sacia (R-Pecatonica), calling out Madigan for a $2.47 million funding cut for diabetes research.

“We’re less than 30 hours from adjournment, and all of a sudden, we’ll show those Republicans what we’re gonna do. Is this what we’re all about?” Sacia asked. “This is shameful.”

The diabetes-funding fireworks, which came as House Democrats began voting out a $33.7 billion budget, did not draw a direct response from Madigan himself, but an aide mocked Sacia’s claim.

“I have no idea what Sacia was talking about,” Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said. “I don’t talk to Sacia anymore. He wasn’t very coherent.”


*** UPDATE *** I missed this passage in an Illinois Issues Blog post

Republicans were especially outraged at the zeroing out of money for a juvenile diabetes research program. Members of House Republican leadership, including Cross, have children with the disease. Republicans called the changes “punitive.”

Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, the chair of the House Human Services Committee, said research was cut in many areas to direct more money to services. “We have systematically removed all funding for research.”

Feigenholtz, a Chicago Democrat, said: “These are gut wrenching decisions that we make.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Fed up - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 9:27 am:

    Beware the vengeful king.

  2. - CWS - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 9:30 am:

    For all the commenters on this site that complain that Cross is too willing to negotiate and compromise: this is why Cross is willing to compromise. Not only is that the responsible governing thing to do, but this is the type of stuff Madigan does when you don’t.

  3. - Easy - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 9:36 am:

    can’t wait for all the usual posts to illuminate me on how madigan really cares about good public policy.

  4. - Sam - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 9:36 am:

    Why stop with taking kids with ventilators away from their families? Today, it’s research for kids with diabetes. Hopefully it won’t be long before we can go after those pesky brats with cancer too.

  5. - Burning Down da House - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 9:39 am:

    Diabetes research funding should be the domain of the American Diabetes Association, not the State of Illinois.

  6. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 9:47 am:

    Um, I thought Republicans were against pork barrel spending?

    Are they telling us they were only planning on supporting the budget because it included their pet causes?

    @Sam -

    If ONLY $2.5 million would cure juvenile diabetes.

  7. - CircularFiringSquad - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 9:47 am:

    Gotta wonder what Cross or what state CWS is watching…certainly not IL and not Billboards.
    BTW no one thinks budget add-ons go to budget drop outs do they?

  8. - Cindy Lou - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 9:47 am:

    For all the outrage on the floor last evening on this, I could not help but wonder where the concern was for the adult retiree/future retiree with diabetes and the ‘choice’ of losing healthcare or taking a fraction of a pension that helps them pay for their diabetes care.

  9. - chuddery - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 9:56 am:

    I like how there are a bunch of commenters who immediately assume that Madigan did exactly what his Republican opponents accuse him of.

    His opponents have no incentive to accuse him of pulling funding for an emotionally resonant issue like juvenile diabetes. None at all.

  10. - Freeman - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 10:01 am:

    === I have no idea what Sacia was talking about ===

    That’s fine, Mr. Brown, and may be correct. Help us understand the reason for suddenly pulling that funding. What was the logic? Certainly there was a great reason. (rolls eyes).

  11. - Freeman - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 10:17 am:

    === I like how there are a bunch of commenters who immediately assume that Madigan did exactly what his Republican opponents accuse him of. ===

    Until someone provides a better explanation, one may well be inclined to think those critics are correct.

    That research funding is a serious issue that touches and concerns many families across Illinois.

    Zeroing that out right now is either:
    - hardball, slightly immature, ruthless, directly targeted and possibly effective.
    - a well reasoned, thoroughly considered late change that will surely be explained to the public. Any connection to House Minority Leadership during their opposition to the pension legislation is mere coincidence.

    Meanwhile, as for the impacted families nervously reading about the research funding cut? Well, they don’t appear to factor into the Speaker’s calculus at present.

    Whether he would actually punish juvenile diabetes research simply to send a message to two individuals is another story. There’s a difference between threatening and doing. We’ll see.

  12. - mark walker - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 10:21 am:

    End of session pressures take their toll on temperament and common sense.

    I doubt very much that this cut is related to anybody’s pension bill position. It is one of hundreds of painful line item cuts.

  13. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 10:32 am:

    @Freeman -

    I don’t think there’s really any explanation needed beyond this:

    The money was in the budget at the request of Leader Cross.

    Leader Cross announced he was no longer voting for the budget.

    Since he was no longer in favor of the money going to diabetes research, it was taken out of the bill.

    Cross wanted to have his cake and eat it too.

  14. - just sayin' - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 10:32 am:

    If Tom Cross is serious about raising money for the good cause of diabetes research, how about doing fundraisers for that instead of for the campaigns of his mostly worthless caucus members.

  15. - chuddery - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 10:37 am:

    ==Until someone provides a better explanation, one may well be inclined to think those critics are correct.==

    Or one may be inclined to think that Madigan’s opponents have political reasons to accuse him of pulling a grant solely for political reasons and that we shouldn’t take their explanation at face value.

  16. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 10:39 am:

    Hard to say what’s going on. Where was the diabetes research funding going? Is it being done at Illinois universities?

    What other medical research line items have the state been funding? Is that really an SOI function?

  17. - Lance Stevens - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 10:45 am:

    Madigan hit a new low with this move.. Cross took a stand on pensions and when Madigan finds out he doesn’t have any cover from Quinn, he gets personal. Someone tell me how that’s good government? and by the way, if you check Cross’ record, he has done quite a bit for private Juvenile Diabetes research funding

  18. - Sam - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 10:46 am:

    @Dog I have no bone in the partisan aspect of this. A pox on all houses for how children are treated.

    I do think that medical research is a smart investment of government generally. Creates jobs, moves the ball toward reducing the burden of an expensive disease, and helps make discoveries that can fuel private sector growth. If you take out the partisan food fight aspect of this, would you not agree that this is a better use of funds than tax breaks to the financial sector?

  19. - steve schnorf - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 10:50 am:

    I think the dog just explained it the way people in Springfield understand it. The diabetes research money was put in the budget years ago specifically at Tom’s request

  20. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 10:52 am:

    Juvenile Diabetes Research funding was not in the Governor’s proposed budget.

  21. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 10:53 am:

    Hey, the Republicans are playing the ultimate game here. They are the ones choosing not to be involved. I have no sympathy for them.

  22. - Rod - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 11:00 am:

    While the prompt in Rich’s post relates to the $2.47 million funding cut for diabetes research clearly there is more involved. In my opinion this type of research is appropriately funded by philanthropies or the National Institutes of Health not a state going broke.

    The real issue here is that the Republicans refused to go along with the Madigan pension plan because of its cost-shifting for pensions to suburban and downstate school districts and then threatened to tie up the entire budget process. There is no question these districts might have to impose property tax increases, impose classroom cuts, effectively reduce salary increases for teachers and administrators, or a combination of these things. Governor Quinn who proposed this cost-shifting, who lined up some suburban democrats to support it, sold the Speaker out on this one.

    But our hero Republicans also opposed an additional $50 million for elementary and secondary education just yesterday. Do we even need to discuss Rep Mike Bost’s absurd diatribe? Given that he is from Murphysboro in Jackson County his distress is legitimate given that Jackson County has one of the highest median property tax rates in the United States, and is ranked 683rd of the 3145 counties in the nation in order of average property taxes. The estimated median household income for the county in 2009 was only $28,895 compared to the state as a whole which was $53,966. But Rep Bost has no solution for the crisis of his community other than passing the buck for his community’s public sector workers’ pensions on to the state as a whole. At this point the Republicans do not even know who or what they are protecting.

  23. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 11:06 am:

    @Sam -

    Actually, the state would get a much better return on investment spending that $2.5 million on preventing Type II diabetes, which can be done through education, than funding research into a medical cure for Type I Diabetes.

    Type II diabetes is much more prevalent and disproportionately impacts blacks and Latinos.

    Type I diabetes (formerly juvenile diabetes) affects 17 in 100,000 children, and primarily impacts whites. In fact, globally, its highest prevalence is in Scandanavia, which is about as white as you can get.

  24. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 11:23 am:

    @Wordslinger -

    As far as I know, the only other research that Illinois funds/was funding is stem cell research.

    ALSO a Tom Cross project.

    Again, I’m at a loss to hear anyone claim Tom Cross is the victim when his pork project, member initiative, or whatever you’d like to call it is removed from the budget. A budget he opposed.

  25. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 11:25 am:

    Funny how people don’t care about a medical issue until their relative is affected and then suddenly expect all the non-affected (which used to include them) to get on board. Is breast cancer more important than pancreatic cancer? Is juvenile diabetes more important than ALS?

  26. - Sam - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 11:34 am:

    @Dog. You make an excellent point about the public health implications of Type II Diabetes. But I wouldn’t really worry that adult medical conditions are getting insufficient research funding, and children’s conditions getting too much. Adults have that right to vote, you know. And it shows in policy priorities.

    I would also caution you that not all medical research is about finding a “cure.” Much is about finding ways to prevent (expensive) complications of chronic diseases for which there is no cure.

    Apart from this issue, the idea of keeping chronic conditions from spiraling out of control should be a major priority. That’s why making it such a hassle to get the prescription drugs needed to control chronic conditions is so penny wise and pound foolish.

  27. - Anon - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 11:34 am:

    Its getting ugly, what a shame. I hope they everyone doesnt get swept up in the emotion of the minute.

  28. - Freeman - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 11:42 am:

    So who’s correct? Feigenholtz, @YDD or Sacia?

  29. - Norseman - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 11:52 am:

    Shared sacrafice Tom!

  30. - chefjeff - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 12:24 pm:

    The Institute of Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois (Champaign) does cutting edge research, including stem cells. If the State continues to mess with the pension and health care benefits of the PhD researchers there, they will leave. It costs a million or more to build a lab for each research team which includes grad students, post docs, as well as professors. I fail to understand why the State would run a program without taking advantage of this resource. It also makes no economic sense to run the talented one-of-a-kind people we have off by cheating them out of benefits they earned.

  31. - amendment ? - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 1:13 pm:

    I read this i the AM but can’t find the amendment that eliminated the diabetes funding. If someone could just tell me the amendment and which approp bill it was I’d appreciate it.

    (By the way–I’ve been type 1 for over 30 years. There is research going on on the federal level, privately funded through the American Diabetes Foundation and JDRF, and most of the really good research is occuring overseas.

    As YDD said, the state’s $2.5 M reduction isn’t going to end all, (or even very much), Type 1 diabetes research. And thats exactly right-if Tom wanted the spending he should have supported the budget that provided it.

  32. - westChi - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 1:43 pm:

    IDPH has testified several times that they do not think they should be funding disease research. They are a public health agency and not analogous to NIH. This isn’t research about preventing a contagious disease or epidemic and is much better left to peer reviewed proposals reviewed by a research body such as NIH or a foundation.
    I wish the money was instead used to some really dire public health needs. IDPH is severely underfunded under these budget proposals in both HIV prevention and the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP). IBCCP ran out of screening mammogram money this year in January. This was when the program was funded at $20 million. Now it will be funded at $3 million less. So it will likely run out of screening mammogram funds before even Breast Cancer Awareness month in October. This of course won’t stop the Governor going to Breast Cancer Events for photo ops. He will tout his commitment to breast cancer even as he slashes funds for poor uninsured women’s access to screenings and funds to prevent HIV exposed babies converting to positive status. It is difficult to know these days why anyone would call themselves an Illinois Democrat.

  33. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 2:11 pm:

    amendment? - There was no amendment to take it out, because it was never in! It would have taken an amendment to put it in. Apparently that was part of the agreed plan while there was an agreed plan, but once there was no agreement, the add-in never occurred.

  34. - soccermom - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 3:50 pm:

    Just to clarify — Type II Diabetes is no longer considered adult-onset. It’s now becoming an epidemic among kids as well.

  35. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 4:02 pm:

    === You make an excellent point about the public health implications of Type II Diabetes. But I wouldn’t really worry that adult medical conditions are getting insufficient research funding, and children’s conditions getting too much. ===

    @Sam -

    There are roughly 37 million adults with Type II diabetes.

    Roughly 1.5 million children with Type I diabetes.

    Again, this is not about wise use of our public health dollars. A child born with diabetes is much more sympathetic politically than an adult who acquires it. Especially when that child is white and that adult if black or Hispanic.

  36. - Hickory - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 4:24 pm:

    Now you see why the budget cut should have been across the board. Cut someone else but don’t cut me. What a screwed up political system.

  37. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 7:59 pm:

    @Hickory -

    “Across-the-board cuts” are pure laziness and bad public policy.

    It makes no sense to cut programs that work and don’t work equally.

    It makes no sense to cut services that are high priorities and low priorities equally.

    If you were trying to lose 10 lbs, would you eat 10% less dessert and 10% less fruits and vegetables?

    Of course not. You’d eliminate sweets completely and probably increase your green leafy vegetables and fruits high in fiber and anti-oxidants.

  38. - Shemp - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 8:10 pm:

    Amazing, some people will defend anything so long as it is their person doing it.

  39. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 9:47 pm:

    @Shemp -

    True. Check the record: I’ve always been against across-the-board cuts, from either side.

    I’ll admit I did support the state investing in stem cell research, back when the federal government was banning its funding and there was no where else to go. And we actually had money.

  40. - Anonymous - Friday, Jun 1, 12 @ 9:13 am:

    Madigan retaliated. Plain and simple. The Illinois government is corrupt and broken and all government spend frivolously because there is no personal responsibility. Diabetes research should be more important than hiring teachers that speak two languages in this country. We live in the USA.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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