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Senate makes progress on Grand Bargain

Senate floor debate from Wednesday's session. (WICS)

Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle gave dueling press conferences Wednesday after passing several bills in the Grand Bargain.

Democrats and Republicans are still disagreeing with how to move forward.

Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said one sticking point is remaining disagreements on property tax freeze legislation.

Republicans said they need more time to negotiate the bills in the Grand Bargain and action taken Wednesday slowed down that process.

Despite that, several bills passed on the floor Wednesday, including a spending bill for 2018.

Another bill that would, in part, give legislative authority to implement several items in that spending bill failed. That same failed bill also contained many of the cuts that are needed to balance the budget.

“The issue is why did the Republicans not vote for the budget, and if it’s because we didn’t pass enough reforms then I need to know specifically just exactly what we didn’t pass,” Cullerton said.

“This wasn’t a balanced budget,” Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, said. “This in fact, the statement on the floor by Sen. Cullerton that we haven’t voted on a balanced budget since 2002, I think, one of the statements we would rebut that is we don’t think they’ve ever provided us with a balanced budget.”

A revenue bill that is also needed to pass a balanced budget was not called for a vote Wednesday.

Votes taken on bills Wednesday untied them from one another so they can pass or be rejected individually without the whole compromise falling through.

The Grand Bargain bills that passed the Senate now head to the House. They will still need to be voted on there before making it to Gov. Bruce Rauner's desk.

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