Federal Budget
4:32 pm
Mon April 4, 2011

Illinois' U.S. senators: party leaders trying to avoid government shutdown

Reporting from WBEZ's Tony Arnold used in this report.

Illinois' two U.S. senators are saying party leaders are trying to avoid a government shut down. Lawmakers are facing a Friday deadline to finalize the federal budget.

Illinois' senior U.S. senator, Democrat Dick Durbin, said budget negotiations with House Republicans and Speaker John Boehner are close to wrapping up.

"When we're down to eight or $10 billion, it's a lot of money, but not in the context of the whole budget," Durbin said. "We can find ways to cut the spending, do it thoughtfully, and I just hope Speaker Boehner can bring together his groups. That's really what we're waiting for."

Durbin said Republicans and Democrats have agreed on how much cutting needs to take place. It's just a matter of figuring out which programs will lose funding.

Illinois' Republican senator, Mark Kirk, said negotiations might come down to the wire.

"I think a deal will be found in Congressional fashion, right around two hours before the deadline," Kirk said.

Kirk said it's possible legislators will need an extra day or two past Friday to approve a budget.