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Illinois Lawmakers Continue Private Meetings As Budget Deadline Looms

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Springfield’s top political leaders are continuing to meet in private as the clock runs down on Illinois’ budget year.

The House and Senate leaders — Democratic and Republican — went all year without sitting down together. That changed Sunday, and they've been meeting regularly since. They also have been coming out and holding news conferences to complain about each other — until yesterday, when they went quiet.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin gave a brief comment in the Statehouse rotunda.

“Every day that we meet, we talk. And we can agree and disagree, but I’m not getting into specifics," he said. "But I’ll say the meeting was — I found it productive.”

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno had a mixed opinion on the chances of a deal this week. 

“Nobody came out swinging, so that’s a good thing," she said. 

Sometimes, it can be a sign of progress when party leaders don’t say much to the news media. It could mean they don’t want to upset their negotiations. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner has mostly been quiet during these negotiations, but he issued a statement saying he’d keep lawmakers in special session until a budget is passed.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.