Governor agrees to compromise on child care eligibility

A spokesperson for Governor Rauner issued a statement on Monday, November 9 describing the move: “As a result of bipartisan discussions with legislators concerning the future of the Child Care Assistance Program, the Rauner administration today plans to amend the emergency rule it filed at the beginning of the fiscal year. Under the amended rule, income eligibility will rise to 162% of the federal poverty level while current co-pays will remain intact. Other eligibility and restrictions will also be lifted pending further review and legislative consultation. Additionally, the governor's office will establish a bipartisan, bicameral task force aimed at ensuring the long-term stability of the program.”

After legislators in both parties urged Governor Rauner to compromise, the Governor acted in good faith to restore eligibility for the overwhelming majority of families receiving child care assistance. Compromise language supported by the Governor brings CCAP eligibility up to 162% of the federal poverty level (FPL), which is higher than most of Illinois’ neighboring states. This is a reasonable compromise that protects child care for the working poor, while at the same time holding the line on spending.

House Democrats responded by thumbing their noses at the compromise and forging ahead with a vote on SB 570, legislation to keep CCAP eligibility at 185% of FPL. Despite bipartisan efforts to achieve a reasonable compromise, Democrats refused to back down and their legislation ultimately failed on a vote of 70-35-4 (71-vote supermajority required for passage).