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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 25, 2001

Governor Ryan Meets With Speaker Hastert

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Governor George H. Ryan met with U.S. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert today to discuss Illinois' current federal priorities and ways to work together that enhance the prospects of securing additional federal funds for the state.

Ryan and Hastert met one-on-one during the governor's two-day visit to the nation's capital. Hastert, of Yorkville, served with Ryan in the Illinois General Assembly when Ryan was speaker of the Illinois House. Ryan and Hastert, along with U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, will meet the media on Thursday to talk about issues important to Illinois.

"Speaker Hastert's continuing success as a national leader should make all Illinoisans and all Americans proud," Ryan said. "Denny's perspective on issues, his sound judgement and his willingness to work with each member of Congress is producing remarkable results for Illinois and for our country. His leadership is helping make Illinois a better place to live and work. It's a tremendous advantage for our state."

Among the items of interest to Illinois that are before Congress this session are:

  • Congressional re-authorization of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, as well as changes in those laws that will help Illinois capture more federal funds for reading, math education, aid for the disabled and teacher quality.

  • Congressional re-authorization for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, as well as funding from the Child Care Development Block Grant, Family Caregivers program, Social Services Block Grant and the Low-Income Home energy Assistance Program. These initiatives help more than 400,000 Illinois families improve their quality of life every year.

  • Funding for the Illinois Rivers 2020 program, the state's long-term commitment to revitalize, clean and protect the Illinois River and its watershed, which includes the Fox, Kaskaskia, Kankakee and Chicago rivers.

  • Maintaining federal rules on the use of reformulated gasoline throughout the country that will require states to use Illinois-produced ethanol in summertime RFG blends that are needed to reduce smog. Some states want to water down federal rules requiring ethanol. Increasing the use of ethanol will be an economic boost for Illinois farmers.

  • A $10 million appropriation for the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. Construction on the library portion of the complex begins in May. The state has committed $50 million to the project and private fundraising thus far as topped $5 million.

  • Funding for transportation projects that include the further extension of commuter rail lines in Chicago's suburbs and the Metro East, rehabilitation of the CTA, road projects in Chicago, Alton, Mokena and East St. Louis as well as continued work on high-speed rail between Chicago and St. Louis.

  • Changes in the federal reimbursement rate for the state's Medicaid program. While Illinois is home to 4.6 percent of the nation's Medicaid clients, the state receives only 3.6 percent of the total pool of federal reimbursement funds. The cost of Medicaid to the state treasury is growing faster than the state's ability to pay for it. Medicaid costs are expected to top $5.8 billion next year.


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