Illinois state lawmakers are hitting the breaks on a proposal to spend half a million dollars for a statue honoring former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert after the Justice Department indicted the Illinois Republican on multiple charges Thursday.
About a month before the DOJ announced the indictment against Hastert,
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan introduced a bill to allocate $500,000 from the Illinois Development Fund for a statue of Hastert, who represented Illinois’ 14th Congressional for 20 years after serving as a state representative.
However, Madigan’s spokesperson, Steve Brown, said Hastert contacted lawmakers asked that they defer the proposal because of the state’s financial condition. Illinois currently is running a $9 billion deficit. Still, the bill, which passed through a house committee, was placed on the calendar for a third reading on May 18.
In the indictment released Thursday evening, federal investigators allege that Hastert paid $3.5 million in hush money to “cover up misconduct.” The money allegedly went to someone in Yorkville, Ill., where he previously coached high school wrestling. The seven-page indictment also accused him of lying to the FBI.
Following the announcement, Hastert reportedly resigned from his current position at Washington, D.C., law firm Dickstein Shapiro, as well as a board member at CME Group, according to Reuters.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated this week that President Trump has now signed legislation that will add a total of $4.7 trillion to the national debt between 2017 and 2029. Tax cuts and spending increases account for similar portions of the projected increase, though if the individual tax cuts in the 2017 Republican overhaul are extended beyond their current expiration date at the end of 2025, they would add another $1 trillion in debt through 2029.
Are interest rates destined to move higher, increasing the cost of private and public debt? While many experts believe that higher rates are all but inevitable, historian Paul Schmelzing argues that today’s low-interest environment is consistent with a long-term trend stretching back 600 years.
The chart “shows a clear historical downtrend, with rates falling about 1% every 60 years to near zero today,” says Bloomberg’s Aaron Brown. “Rates do tend to revert to a mean, but that mean seems to be declining.”
Lawmakers are considering three separate bills that are intended to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Here’s an overview of the proposals, from a series of charts produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation this week. An interesting detail highlighted in another chart: 88% of voters – including 92% of Democrats and 85% of Republicans – want to give the government the power to negotiate prices with drug companies.
From Gallup: “A record 25% of Americans say they or a family member put off treatment for a serious medical condition in the past year because of the cost, up from 19% a year ago and the highest in Gallup's trend. Another 8% said they or a family member put off treatment for a less serious condition, bringing the total percentage of households delaying care due to costs to 33%, tying the high from 2014.”