Democratic congressmen from Illinois wrote to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner Monday, urging him to take action on the higher education funding crisis in the state.
The state budget impasse, now in its tenth month, has meant no funding for higher education institutions and low-income college students who depend on tuition assistance through the Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP).
"Students should not be made to suffer because of politics," said U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL,11), who led his Democratic colleagues in sending Rauner the letter. "The education of our young people is too important to the future of Illinois to be used as political leverage. It's time for the Governor to act."
In addition to Foster, the letter was signed by U.S. Reps. Bobby Rush (D-IL,1), Robin Kelly (D-IL,2), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL,4), Mike Quigley (D-IL-5), Danny Davis (D-IL,7), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL,8), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL,9) and Cheri Bustos (D-IL,17).
"As you may know, because of the prolonged budget impasse many Illinois colleges and universities have been scrambling to solve growing budget shortfalls," reads the letter, which can be found here. "This has led to extreme measures, directly preventing our constituents from bettering their situation through education.
"In February, you vetoed a bill that could have helped solve this problem, publicly stating that this is 'a very tragic situation' and 'a failure of the government.' As the Governor of our state, you have the responsibility to rectify these tragic situations and ensure that government operates properly ... We urge you to reconsider your veto and become part of a solution to this problem."