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House Votes To Block Legislator Pay Raise

House Speaker Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey
WUIS/Illinois Issues
Speaker Michael Madigan, right, addresses the Illinois House on Tuesday, July 28, 2015, as Democratic legislators and staff look on.

Amid Illinois' ongoing budget battle, there was a rare moment of bipartisanship on Tuesday. Members of the Illinois House have voted to block a pay raise for themselves.

Lawmakers are scheduled to get an automatic pay hike this year, and Gov. Bruce Rauner has been relentlessly criticizing Democrats for not voting to block it.

House Speaker Michael Madigan — after recently refusing to talk about it — sponsored the legislation to prevent the pay raise. But he says it's still just another of Rauner's "diversionary" issue.

"I think it's fair to say that we are involved in what will be viewed as an historic struggle between two branches of government, when the No. 1 issue facing the state is a budget deficit," Madigan says.

Madigan again called on Rauner to drop his pro-business, anti-union agenda and instead negotiate on the budget.

In a statement, Rauner seemed to immediately reject that call. Spokesman Lance Trover says while the governor appreciates the House vote on legislator salaries, Rauner still wants "structural reforms" — that is, his legislative agenda.

As for the pay raise — it'll still take effect unless the Senate also votes to block it.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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