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Legislative update: Supreme Court ruling is good news for NIU renovation projects

July 12, 2011

In Springfield

On Monday, the Illinois Supreme Court handed down its decision to uphold the funding mechanism put in place by the Illinois General Assembly to fund the state’s $31 billion capital plan. This is wonderful news for NIU because it means that the last obstacle has been cleared on state funding for the renovation of Cole Hall, the renovation and expansion of the Stevens Building, and the planning for the new computer sciences technology building.

In Washington, D.C….

Lori Clark
Lori Clark

With three weeks remaining before the Aug. 2 deadline when the U.S. Treasury is projected to begin defaulting on our national borrowing, significant differences remain between President Obama and Congressional Republicans in the deficit reduction/debt ceiling budget negotiations.

The negotiations are becoming increasingly contentious. The Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner, have rejected President Obama’s call to reduce some tax breaks for the wealthy as part of any agreement. The President is pushing for a $4 trillion package over the next decade, and he has publicly announced that he will not support any short-term (30- to 90-day) solution.

The Republicans are adamant that they will not support any package that includes “tax increases” for the wealthy, and they are now pushing for a smaller, $2 trillion package that involves major cuts in domestic agencies.

The House Republicans also are now calling for a $250 billion reduction to Medicare over the next decade by asking wealthier seniors to pay more for health coverage, placing new restrictions on Medigap policies, and adding new co-payments and cost-sharing provisions for home health care.

These reductions would be on top of the $500 billion in Medicare savings previously enacted as part of the President’s overhaul of the healthcare system. The House has cancelled its recess scheduled for next week to stay in town to continue to work on these issues.

There has been work in the House on the FY2012 appropriations. Last week, the House passed the defense appropriations bill, and lawmakers are beginning debate on amendments to the energy and water development appropriation bill. They anticipate starting work on the financial service appropriation bill by the end of the week.

The Voices section of NIU Today features opinions and perspectives from across campus. Lori Clark is director of federal relations for NIU.