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Senator Biss issued the following statement:

“Today marks the end of the first month of Fiscal Year 16 — and yet the State of Illinois is still operating without a budget.

“For a variety of reasons, mostly technical and legal, a lot of the state’s ordinary expenditures are still happening. These include payments to elementary and secondary school districts, employee salaries, and certain medicaid payments.

While I’m of course relieved that these core functions are ongoing, it’s important to understand that they’re far from all that government is supposed to do — and, indeed, vulnerable people are already being harmed severely.

“Today I participated in a news conference to explain that CEDA WIC program, which is the primary resource for 50,000 women, infants, and children, will no longer be able to provide crucial services. This is a direct consequence of the failure to enact a budget — even though the program is federally funded!

“I could give more examples, but I’m not sure what else there is to say beyond the fact that hungry infants are literally being deprived of sustenance. I hope you’ll remember that next time you encounter a story about the budget stalemate.

“Our political discourse isn’t really designed to speak honestly about situations like this. We’re great at talking about where the “leverage” is or who’s “winning the day” but we don’t really know how to talk about human suffering.Unfortunately, our current situation is causing a lot of human suffering, and the people being hurt did nothing wrong. It’s unnecessary, it’s unconscionable, and it needs to stop.

“All of us in state government need to sit down and work this out as quickly as possible, and Governor Rauner needs to put aside his radical agenda, at least for long enough to enable us to get a budget passed. After we’ve started feeding infants again, we can move on to the rest of the issues. But first thing’s first.”