WASHINGTON (AP) _ Congress has easily passed a $1.1 trillion bill easing the harshest effects of last year's automatic spending cuts after tea party critics chastened by the government shutdown in October mounted only a faint protest. The sweeping 72-26 Senate vote to fund the government through September sends the bill to the White House for President Barack Obama's signature before a midnight Saturday deadline.
The state of Illinois has taken another step toward regulating who may get a concealed-carry permit. The Department of Human Services has created an on-line database for mental health professionals to report people who pose a “clear and present danger” to themselves or others.
The following is an essay by Rockford City Manager Jim Ryan, delivered at the ceremony at City Hall for the Morgan Street Bridge ribbon-cutting, December 17th, 2013. Thank you to Jim Ryan for permission to publish his remarks.
Governor Pat Quinn took many pens in hand this afternoon and signed the same-sex marriage bill into law. The signing ceremony was held at the University of Illinois - Chicago Forum, on a desk brought up from Springfield. That desk is said to have been used by President Abraham Lincoln to write his first inaugural address.
Bringing to an end an episode that once again exposed Washington gridlock at its worst, the House approved a Senate deal that will end a 16-day federal government shutdown and avert the first government default in U.S. history.
The 285-144 vote came at the eleventh hour, after weeks of partisan bickering and a very public airing of deep divisions within the Republican party. The bill now heads to the White House, where President Obama said he will sign it "immediately."
With a little more than a day to go before the nation potentially defaults on its debts, there's still no solid plan on the table in Washington.
There was a flurry of activity on Tuesday, but it produced little significant movement.
The House tried twice to craft a proposal to end the shutdown and extend the debt ceiling, only to pull them back because they didn't have enough votes within the GOP to pass them. Now, the Senate has restarted talks of its own.
With just two days to go before the nation potentially defaults on its debts, the push to reach a deal took on new urgency on Capitol Hill. There was a flurry of activity Tuesday — a potential deal eagerly awaited by the White House seemed to be coalescing in the Senate, and House Republicans skeptical of a potential Senate plan were struggling to come up with a proposal of their own.
Bottom line is that so far, there is no firm deal in either chamber. Here's where things stand: