Durkin on the Battle Over an Illinois Budget

Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin joins Chicago Tonight to talk about the general assembly's recently wrapped-up spring legislative session. The session, which saw sometimes tense battles between the Democratic majority in the legislature and rookie Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, ended without a budget deal. 

Speaking to reporters after the spring session of the general assembly ended on Sunday, Minority Leader Jim Durkin described himself as disappointed.

“Things have broken down, and it’s very unfortunate,” he said.

Watch Durkin’s Sunday press conference. 

The session ended without a budget deal, meaning there’s likely a difficult summer battle ahead to hash out a plan. Durkin placed the blame for the lack of a deal at the doorstep of the Democratic majority.

“It’s the governor who has made it very clear that he’s willing to work with the Democrats. He’s never walked away from the table. The Democrats have walked away from the table. It’s unfortunate, and we may be in for a long summer,” Durkin said.

Democrats have charged from the get-go that Gov. Bruce Rauner isn’t behaving like a leader willing to negotiate, rather he’s acting like a CEO handing out instructions to employees. But Durkin said in the press conference that Democrats aren’t used to dealing with a Republican who isn’t shy about advocating for his priorities.

“He is chief executive of our state, and he’s made it very clear that we need to make significant changes in Illinois government,” Durkin said. “I would say most Illinoisans agree on that.”

Catch up on Chicago Tonight’s coverage of the final week of the legislative session: