Illinois Senate GOP seeks more time on ‘grand bargain’

Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois.

SPRINGFIELD, Il – Top Senate Republicans are pleading for more time to negotiate pieces of a sweeping budget package as the spring legislative session enters its final two weeks.

Deputy Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady of Bloomington told a Statehouse news conference Wednesday that a Democratic plan to forge ahead with votes on individual pieces of the so-called “grand bargain” could undermine ongoing talks.

The grand bargain is a five-month-old plan hatched by Democratic and Republican leaders to break through two-year stalemate on a state budget between lawmakers and GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner. Sticking points are details about pieces that Rauner demands: Changes to the workers’ compensation system and a local property-tax freeze.

Sen. Karen McConnaughay of St. Charles says talks are “fluid” but agreement is close. She says voting on the bills without agreement on the whole budget package could hurt chances for success.