Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said the Illinois Senate’s failure to advance a pension reform measure he backed showed “a lack of leadership,” in that chamber.
The Chicago Sun-Times caught up with Chicago Democrat just moments after the Illinois Senate torpedoed his pension reform plan.
When asked what he thought of the vote he initially responded: “not much.”
Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton each advanced competing bills to solve the state’s pension crisis. Madigan argued his went further in bringing savings, while Cullerton insisted that his version — backed by unions — was constitutional.
Could pension reform be salvaged? Could a compromise be reached?That was the compromise, Madigan said of his plan: “It just failed in the Senate.”
“The issue was always about cost savings,” Madigan said. “I’m very disappointed.”
Madigan said the failed measure signaled something else in the Senate.”It’s a lack of leadership,” he went on to say that it took him one month, one month and a half to build consensus in his chamber and get the measure passed even though not everyone was happy with it.
“The Speaker and President Cullerton have different leadership styles. Let’s leave it at that,” said Cullerton spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon.
Madigan walked out the Capitol’s front doors apparently en route to a meeting with Gov. Pat Quinn.
“I’m going to the mansion,” he said.
Senate Republicans backed the bill, saying it wasn’t perfect but it was the closest compromise out there.
State Sen. Kirk Dillard shook his head, telling the Sun-Times that the state’s pension turmoil was on the cusp of a massive improvement — before the failure.
“We were one hour away from finally putting us on a road to fiscal solvency,” Dillard said, predicting it would have taken that long for it to win approval. “I find it incredible he cannot find six votes on his side of the aisle to pass this measure.”