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House To Take Up Child Care Plan, Despite Governor Reversal Of Cuts

Brian Mackey/WUIS

Thousands of low-income families would once be able to get state help paying for child care  under a compromise deal introduced Monday by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Rauner had been responsible for changes that cut the families off from the program in the first place.   He unilaterally raised eligibility standards ... so a parent making minimum wage no longer qualified.

After a months-long ruckus, Rauner, a Republican says he'll expand eligibility once again. 

It comes a day before the Illinois House was set to pass a measure taking child care out from under the governor's control.

While Rauner describes his plan as a bipartisan deal critics fear he'll renege. 

James Muhammad, a spokesman with the SEIU union says Rauner's a wolf in sheep's clothing.

"Because he offers something that may sound good to some now but when the cover is pulled down the line, we'll be right back in the same place that we are now because he still has authority to make changes at the whim of his wishes," Muhammed said.

Muhammad  adds it's only through Rauner's "abuse of powers" that Illinois is in this situation.

Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, the Peoria Democrat sponsoring the legislation to enshrine the looser eligibility requirements in law, says despite Rauner's gesture, she will call it Tuesday.  Gordon-Booth says child care providers need to have stability going forward.  She said Monday evening that she believes there will be enough support for it to pass.

If approved, it would then have to go back to the Senate. Sen. Toi Hutchinson, the Democrat sponsoring it in that chamber, says she'll hold onto the measure as long as Rauner goes forward with the rule change.  But it will be in place should he again reverse course, like a form of legislative insurance.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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