NPR Story
4:56 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Initial Obama Library Vote A "Misunderstanding"

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 8:05 pm

Illinois legislators will vote a second time on a plan to spend $100 million to help lure Barack Obama's Presidential Library and Museum to Chicago, following a controversy.

Speaker Madigan says Republicans should back his bill to help fund an Obama presidential library

A lesson in politics: Whichever party is in charge can often use the rules to its advantage. Like last week, when the Obama library proposal passed out of a Democratic-controlled House committee with nine votes ... even though only five representatives were there. Republicans had skipped the hearing, and many say they're opposed to spending the money given Illinois' financial situation.

House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Democrat, calls it a "misunderstanding," and says the committee will vote again, once the legislative session resumes next week.

"I would hope with the support of the Republican members of the committee, who I would think would want to support a son of Illinois, who rose to the Presidency," Madigan says.

Madigan says he doesn't understand the reluctance to spend taxpayer money on the project, pointing out that the state funded the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. He says an Obama library in Chicago would likewise be an international tourist attraction.

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