Frustration, no agreement at pension summit

June 14, 2013 4:21:51 PM PDT
Another summit on the Illinois pension crisis ended with more frustration and no agreement as Governor Part Quinn met with House Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton.

All the group could agree on was another senate vote next Wednesday on a pension reform bill that failed in the chamber by a wide margin last month.

"I kind of felt like I was witnessing an awkward family fight," said minority leader Senator Christine Radogno .

Republican Radogno left an impression the Democrats were as dysfunctional as ever only five days before yet another attempt to resolve the state's nearly $100 billion pension debt crisis.

"We must get the members of the legislature to pass a comprehensive public pension reform bill so I can sign it into law," Quinn said.

Madigan and cullerton have passed versions of pension reform in their respective chambers. Madigan's bill, which failed in Cullerton's senate once, will get another chance at the special session.

"It will require 36 votes, so I'm not very optimistic," Cullerton said.

William Daley, Governor Quinn's newly announced opponent in next year's democratic primary has already made pension reform a campaign issue.

"The Governor has been for his own plan, then he's for Cullerton's plan, then he's for Madigan's plan. Now he's for both plans. That's not leadership," Daley said.

Speaker Madigan, the Illinois Democratic Party Chairman and consensus most powerful Illinois politician, says for him to lobby senators to vote for the pension reform bill he sponsored would violate Springfield protocol.

"I'm just telling you the way it is down there," Madigan said. "You can ask anybody that's down there."

"If he can get votes from Senators to vote for SB1, that's fine," said Cullerton.

The governor was asked about the conspiracy theory still clouding the pension reform debate. Have Madigan and Cullerton choreographed their dispute to benefit a campaign for governor by the speaker's daughter Attorney General Lisa Madigan?

"I hope that isn't the case because an oath of office means something to me and I hope it means something to them," Quinn said.

If the senate votes down the Madigan bill a second time, the governor has suggested a suggested a conference committee to write a compromise bill.

Early indications are there could be difficulty getting the house and senate to agree on that proposal.


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