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Durbin, Pritzker warn about consequences if DC fails to act

Wednesday, Sep 9, 2020

* Tribune

As he was preparing to return to the nation’s capital, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said in Chicago today that he’s focused on working with lawmakers to put together a new COVID-19 relief package - an effort that’s been stalled for months amid a partisan standoff.

The domino effect, he says, is that with the expiration of federal paycheck protection and unemployment subsidies, more businesses will close and people simply won’t have the purchasing power to maintain sales and other tax revenues needed to keep governments functioning. […]

But a short time after Durbin’s downtown Chicago news conference, McConnell announced what the Washington Post called a slimmed-down COVID-19 bill that does not include help for state and local governments. […]

“We’ve seen state and local governments all across the United States take an inventory of where they are today and the news is not good. Whether it’s the state of Illinois or the city of Chicago, there’s been a dramatic loss of revenue for obvious reason,” Durbin told reporters this morning. “… And so governors and mayors are facing some of the most difficult choices, whether it’s Gov. Pritzker or Mayor Lightfoot, they’re in a situation where they don’t have the revenues to continue the service levels that they have traditionally provided. What that means is if Congress does not act and act soon, many of them will face cutbacks in critical employees. We’re talking about police, firefighters, teachers, health care workers, the list goes on and on.”


Illinois’ governor says state and local government workers could lose their jobs without a federal bailout. Governor JB Pritzker yesterday predicted that first responders and social service providers would feel the brunt of the coming economic impact of the coronavirus. Pritzker is pushing for a federal bailout for Illinois, but many Republicans on Capitol Hill say that looks very unlikely.

* Fox 32

The Republican proposal would add $300 a week to unemployment checks, down from the $600 boost that expired last month. Democrat Bernie Sanders tweeted that it also included $161 million “corporate welfare to the coal industry.” But for many Democrats, the biggest objection is that Republicans offer nothing to local governments, such as the state of Illinois, which is warning of layoffs without at least $5 billion.

“Big corporations all across the nation have received billions and billions and billion of dollars of aid. But now when it comes to the very social services, the very education, the frontline, you know, first responders–our police, our firefighters–now they’re gonna fall short?” Pritzker said.

* Center Square

As members of Congress get back to work, some are looking for another COVID-19 aid package. President Donald Trump said he doesn’t support bailing out what he called “badly run” Democratic cities and states, “whether it’s New York or Illinois.” […]

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, said Illinois should not get a bailout for years of policymakers neglecting the state’s finances before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“No one is going to bail out the structural debt and deficit that Illinois has,” Davis said. “That’s not a pandemic expense, that’s not something that’s caused by the pandemic.” […]

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, said Illinois’ structural debt is from years of Illinois paying more than it gets back in federal taxes.

“So until that problem is fixed, this mischaracterization of this as a bailout is just way off base,” Foster said. […]

Foster said a deal for additional COVID-19 relief may be wrapped in with an end-of-year spending plan to get passed the presidential inauguration in January. He said that would be to avoid making things more turbulent with threats of a government shutdown. Davis said he would support allowing local governments to cover COVID-related costs with money congress has already approved. […]

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday it’s up to Congress to “step up.” He said he is “very, very” concerned that social services will be diminished if Congress doesn’t take action.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Way down yonder - Wednesday, Sep 9, 20 @ 2:42 pm:

    Davis believes that Wyoming and Mississippi and all the other taker states should get the bailouts.

  2. - NIU Grad - Wednesday, Sep 9, 20 @ 2:46 pm:

    Davis is looking out for Republican-led states getting Illinois taxpayer money more than he is the interests of his state and district. This party has tied themselves so closely to Trump that they can’t fathom looking out for anything besides his reelection interests.

  3. - Motambe - Wednesday, Sep 9, 20 @ 2:53 pm:

    First, does the governor have the authority to lay-off first responders? I don’t think so. I guess he does have the authority to reduce state tax reimbursement payments to communities, thus causing local governments to bite that bullet.
    Second, is there a formula for the pass through of federal bailout dollars to local governments? I have not seen one.

  4. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Sep 9, 20 @ 2:54 pm:

    “but many Republicans on Capitol Hill say that looks very unlikely”

    It’s not just Illinois that is suffering revenue losses because of the pandemic. Because certain politicians of a certain political party only care when things personally affect them, maybe there’s hope for bailout money for states and locals.

    The federal deficit is at $3 trillion and national debt under Trump has grown at a faster pace than under Obama. The talking point coming from the US Senate leader and others in his party, that states like Illinois can’t get bailout funds due to financial mismanagement, is so transparently hypocritical.

    We’ve rarely if ever heard silence as deafening over national financial mismanagement from those who make careers out of attacking Illinois.

  5. - A Jack - Wednesday, Sep 9, 20 @ 3:04 pm:

    Illinois could just shut down the Taylorville Correctional Center as a start in tackling the deficit. Minimum security prisons are likely much less populated with the legalization of Marijuana.

  6. - 40,000 ft - Wednesday, Sep 9, 20 @ 3:11 pm:

    “U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, said Illinois’ structural debt is from years of Illinois paying more than it gets back in federal taxes.”

    That’s a good new maxim. We should all expect to “get back” what we pay in taxes. Sounds “fair.”

  7. - Quibbler - Wednesday, Sep 9, 20 @ 3:19 pm:

    This is all theater. Pritzker knows no federal bailout is coming until January 2021 at the earliest, and probably not even then. This has been clear for months now. The state needs to put together its own package and pass it, now.

  8. - SSL - Wednesday, Sep 9, 20 @ 3:28 pm:

    If the so called leaders on both sides of the aisle would act like adults, common ground could be found. The posturing on both sides, trying to score political points, is beyond frustrating. Focus on this issue and get something done so states, both blue and red, can make plans for moving forward.

    I’m not holding my breath.

  9. - 1st Ward - Wednesday, Sep 9, 20 @ 3:43 pm:

    “Big corporations all across the nation have received billions and billions and billion of dollars of aid”

    To not layoff their workers….. This money has been spent on continuing their employment and layoffs now loom. Tax revenues would have been lower if this didn’t occur. Would this have been better JB?

    “structural debt is from years of Illinois paying more than it gets back in federal taxes.”

    Due to cost of living in the state and having the 3rd/4th largest city in the country which requires higher wages to live in the state/city compared to the medium/average of the country.

    To the post:

    Aid from federal to state and local should occur but discount for pre-covid deficits and lack of rainy day funds that Chicago and the State were in that others budgeted better for.

    At best maybe an “October surprise” happens and something is passed (I doubt it). If not, I assume a sweep by the D’s needs to occur and something will get passed in February which will be too late but still badly needed. We keep doubling down on stupid to inflict maximum pain for illusionary political gain during this crises.

  10. - Froganon - Wednesday, Sep 9, 20 @ 3:48 pm:

    Bail outs for coal barons but nothing for services that we actually need to live. Bailouts for Billionaires, the GOP’s Holy Grail.

  11. - Jibba - Wednesday, Sep 9, 20 @ 3:49 pm:

    ==No one is going to bail out the structural debt and deficit that Illinois has,” Davis said===

    And what about revenue shortfalls instead? Why is this guy still in office?

  12. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 9, 20 @ 3:57 pm:

    ===No one is going to bail out the structural debt and deficit that Illinois has,” Davis said===

    ‘Nember when Rodney Davis’ was confused why his district wasn’t getting “any monies” from PPP?

    Maybe Davis should make a habit of reading bills and be more concerned about services slowing to constituents.

  13. - 17% Solution - Wednesday, Sep 9, 20 @ 4:16 pm:

    Look like McConnell wants to defund the police.

  14. - SAP - Wednesday, Sep 9, 20 @ 4:45 pm:

    Maybe Don Harmon was ahead of his time?

  15. - Blue Dog Dem - Wednesday, Sep 9, 20 @ 7:42 pm:

    When Durkin teams up with other midwestern senators to stop the insanity of continually propping up multimillionaire farmers, I will be all in favor of diverting that money to the states.

  16. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 9, 20 @ 7:50 pm:

    ===…teams up with other midwestern senators to stop the insanity of continually propping up multimillionaire farmers, I will be all in favor of diverting that money to the states.===

    No you won’t.

    Your schtick is anything but honest to policy.

    I fed you, good luck.

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