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Committee Votes For $100 Million Toward Obama Library...Again

May 1, 2014
Originally published on April 30, 2014 8:32 pm

  A legislative committee Wednesday voted to authorize spending $100 million to lure Barack Obama's presidential library to Chicago ... for the second time.

Before he became President, Barack Obama served as an Illinois state senator and a U.S. senator. He worked as a community organizer in Chicago, and taught at the University of Chicago law school.

All reasons he might locate his presidential library and museum in Illinois.

But New York and Hawaii are also in the running.

Speaker of the Illinois House Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) says Illinois has to compete. And to help persuade the President to choose Chicago, Madigan wants the state to help fund the project.

"It would become an international tourist attraction," he said. "You can't think of a site in Illinois — maybe the LIncoln library — but everybody would be hard-pressed to find another site in Illinois that would eqaul the attractiveness of an Obama library and museum in Illinois, prefereably in the city of Chicago."

But Republicans say Illinois can't afford the expense, and like other modern presidents, Obama could rely on private donations.

Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) says Chicago would be an appropriate location for the library. But he says Illinois should have an inside track without using taxpayer dollars.

"It's been proven that the dollars needed to build an extensive library is out there in the private sector, through fundraising, and I think our last several presidents, obviously, have the ability to raise dollars, and have shown that, both during their time in office and afterwards, for their libraries," he said.

The 7 - 4 vote was a redo. Republicans demanded a new vote after they say Democrats bent the rules, pushing it through a hearing at which no Republicans were present. The measure now goes to the House floor.

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