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Republicans suggest there’s a divide between Democratic leaders

Monday, Nov 28, 2016

* Senate President John Cullerton emerged from the leaders meeting shortly after 4 o’clock to say that the Democrats will “offer counter-proposals” to the governor’s ideas tomorrow. He said those counter-proposals would be centered on workers’ comp, consolidation of government and pension reform. “We’ll see if we can make some more progress,” he said.

Asked about any progress on the budget, Cullerton said “we’re talking about ‘reforms,’” before they “talk about the budget.”

Asked why he described it as a “good meeting,” Cullerton said “We have an understanding of the topics and process,” going forward and the leaders “will have a normal give and take.”

* But will the Democrats really offer counter-proposals? House Speaker Michael Madigan emerged to say, yet again, that if the leaders “continue to use the framework” successfully used for seven budgets, they could get something done. That’s usually his code for saying that they need to work out a budget before they tackle the governor’s reforms.

So why is he participating in the talks if the governor insists upon talking about his reforms first? Madigan said he participated today at the invitation of the governor.

And when asked about Cullerton’s comment regarding counter-proposals, Madigan initially dodged the question, but later said “Sen. Cullerton can speak for himself and I’ll speak for myself.”

* House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said the Democrats would offer counter-proposals on the governor’s proposed reforms tomorrow. But, Durkin said, he wasn’t “getting the same sense of urgency” on completing a budget from the Dems.

Durkin said if nothing changes he fears the Democrats would push stop-gap budgets for the next two years.

* Senate GOP Leader Christine Radogno said “It’s unclear who we are negotiating with.” Cullerton, she said, pledged to bring counter-proposals tomorrow, but Madigan, she said, is sticking with his “seven successful budget negotiations” stance.

“It does seem that there’s a divide between the two of them about how committed they are to any kind of change,” Radogno said, adding she’d take Cullerton at his word. “But I just continue to hear the rote comments” about the seven successful budgets out of Madigan.

Durkin said he was worried that Cullerton might bring a “workers’ comp lite” proposal to the meeting tomorrow. Radogno wondered if Cullerton was once again just playing “good cop” to Madigan’s “bad cop.”

Durkin said that, rather than a special session, the leaders should meet every day, whether in Springfield or in Chicago.

* Meanwhile, Madigan also told reporters that he had “overwhelming support” for his reelection as House Speaker. And when asked about a lame duck session, Madigan said “The governor has spoken at length about a lame duck tax increase,” with a bit of snark in his voice, calling that fact “interesting.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Demoralized - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 4:38 pm:

    It’s like watching the movie Groundhog Day

  2. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 4:43 pm:

    If there’s a rift among Democrats, then Rauner should find enough Dems to get his (Rauner’s) reforms passed.

    That’s a rift. When you peel votes, that’s a rift.

    My hope is “tomorrow” is a new day and whatever was learned today, they all can apply to a “tomorrow”, real or “tomorrow’s tomorrow”

  3. - Deft Wing - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 4:44 pm:


    “Madigan will spit out his usual talking points. Cullerton will try, desperately, to sound reasonable & accommodating (only to retreat once Madigan slaps him a day or two later) without really saying anything. And Radogno & Durkin will stand together and talk what was actually said in the meeting!”

  4. - OurMagician - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 4:46 pm:

    If Illinois had indeed had “seven successful budgets”, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in. Passing a budget with pension holidays and gimmicks is passing a budget, not being successful.

  5. - Anon - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 4:46 pm:

    The language coming out of the Republican minority leaders is always hostile after these meetings. I think I would find it difficult to continue to even meet with them if I know the second they leave they’re going to continue to misrepresent the state’s position in their best interest.

    ===Durkin said if nothing changes he fears the Democrats would push stop-gap budgets for the next two years.===

    Let’s see Durkin’s $8 billion in cuts.

  6. - 47th Ward - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 4:46 pm:

    ===“It’s unclear who we are negotiating with.”===

    This from a Leader who needs a room slightly larger than a broom closet to hold a caucus meeting. Here’s a tip Senator, the Democrats are perfectly clear who they are negotiating with, and it isn’t you.

  7. - Anon - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 4:47 pm:

    ===Passing a budget with pension holidays and gimmicks is passing a budget, not being successful.===

    I’m willing to pay a 7% income tax. Ideally, I’d like to see it around 6% or 6.5%, but I’m willing to pay a 7% income tax.

    I’d be more excited about it if they also got rid of the retirement income tax subtraction.

    What tax rate do you want to pay for a gimmick free budget?

  8. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 4:48 pm:

    So tired of this. What a baby Michael Madigan is.

  9. - Anon - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 4:49 pm:

    ===What a baby Michael Madigan is.===

    LOL — he’s not the one throwing tantrums.

  10. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 4:51 pm:

    “And Radogno & Durkin will stand together and talk what was actually said in the meeting!”

    Right, D.W. Those two are paragons of virtue and truthfulness! No bias, half-truths or misleading statements from their mouths. s/

  11. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 4:52 pm:

    ===…will stand together and talk what was actually said in the meeting…===

    Dunno if all that was said was released by either.

    That’s why your comment fails.

  12. - AlfondoGonz - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 4:57 pm:

    Anyone who refuses to acknowledge that at least some fault lies at the feet of every “leader” is either disingenuous, willfully ignorant, or obtuse.

    It shouldn’t be so hard to find common ground when the rising tide has left us with so little land to stand on.

  13. - blue dog dem - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 5:04 pm:

    Anon at 4:47. I am unwilling to pay anything more than my current rate until there is an attempt to reduce spending. Spending money but not paying bills is not what I mean. If higher ed and social service cuts are permanent, so be it. Don’t raise my taxes, increase spending and then repeat this cycle in three years. That makes about as much sense as the crap that is going on now.

  14. - walker - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 5:06 pm:

    Durkin complains about Dem’s lack of urgency on settling the budget itself, after leaving a meeting where his side insisted on negotiating TA “reform” items before the budget itself could even be discussed?

    Wow! That’s a bold spin move.

  15. - TTR - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 5:07 pm:

    == Here’s a tip Senator, the Democrats are perfectly clear who they are negotiating with, and it isn’t you. ==

    Well said, 47th.

    All snark aside, never before have two leaders been more irrelevant. Money does those kind of things. We’re worse off for it.

  16. - Like water for chocolate - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 5:13 pm:

    Does anyone else wonder why Rauner calls these meetings, presumably speaks on behalf of the ilgop, and then leaves durkin and radogno to speak for him. Shouldnt the press be pressing him daily too?

  17. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 5:14 pm:

    It would help of the Republicans made it explicit how TA “reform” items are necessary for constructing a budget. If they are, as they claim, then show numbers.

    It’s easy to say “cut spending,” but where? How much? I’m not against it, but geez, I’d like to know what Durkin and Radogno are going to do to actually contribute to a working budget.

  18. - OurMagician - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 5:14 pm:

    =What tax rate do you want to pay for a gimmick free budget?=

    The tax rate needs to be something that pays down the bills, allows Illinois to grow but has some reduction in spending. That rate may be 7%, it may be 5%, it’s not 3.75%. Actual, honest reduction in spending and not on the poorest of the poor has to go along with it. Rauner is no angel in any of this but to dismiss every one of his ideas is foolhardy. He has shown he knows how to make a dollar or 2. There are many ideas and things he initially proposed that the Democrats will never go for but you can’t say there is nothing that couldn’t improve the budget situation with some negotiation.

    But, until someone in Springfield can be honest, straight forward and quit trying to divide the state, nothing will get done.

  19. - RNUG - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 5:15 pm:

    I guess I don’t see the path to passing anything; you have to have both chambers on the same page … and they apparently aren’t. As long as the D’s back MJM’s position in the House, there is no rift. Peel off enough House members to get to 60 … then you can talk about a rift.

  20. - Illinoised - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 5:16 pm:

    I wish both parties would put a lid on it and stifle their post-meeting comments until a deal is reached. Their schtick is grating.

  21. - Blue Bayou - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 5:17 pm:

    It would help of the Republicans made it explicit how TA “reform” items are necessary for constructing a budget. If they are, as they claim, then show numbers.

    It’s easy to say “cut spending,” but where? How much? I’m not against it, but geez, I’d like to know what Durkin and Radogno are going to do to actually contribute to a working budget.

  22. - hisgirlfriday - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 5:23 pm:

    Durkin and Radogno just seem so pointless with their comments from these things. They’re just communications operatives for the governor playing zero role in the outcome of events and demonstrating zero leadership or good faith bipartisanship on any aspect of negotiations.

    Madigan is a fierce partisan leader and gets duly criticized for it. Cullerton can be wishy-washy about attemots at bipartisan solutions and gets duly criticized for it.

    Meanwhile Durkin and Radogno do nothing but snipe to reporters to keep partisan animosity up to the greatest degree possible yet skate by with no accountability for their role in the state’s condition or the current impasse in negotiations.

  23. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 5:24 pm:

    The Speaker defines the number 1 problem in the State of Illinois as the budget deficit

    He considers the past 7 stop gap budgets over the past two years as “a successful framework” for solving the budget crisis. I can’t believe he can say that with a straight face.

    The last 7 budgets have solved nothing and the Speaker considers them “successful” and can’t wipe that smug smile off his face for the whole press conference.

    And he will win 100 percent of the votes for Speaker of the House in the State of Illinois.

    And legislators wonder why they are held in such low regard.

    Once again the Democrats can’t even seem to agree among themselves but Rauner is to blame for the impasse.

  24. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 5:28 pm:

    “He has shown he knows how to make a dollar or 2.”

    But at whose expense? So far the governor only seems willing to hurt the poor, state employees, and those at universities. Can we not divide up the burden a little more evenly? His hatred of unions seems to supersede his desire to fix Illinois in an equitable fashion. What has he proposed so far that would require capitol and the wealthy to put more skin in the game? I am not being snarky, I really want to know.

  25. - JS Mill - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 5:31 pm:

    “I just continue to hear the rote comments”

    Christine, I wouldn’t talk about the governor that way if I were you.

  26. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 5:45 pm:

    If the national Democrats want to find out how they lost the blue collar vote to Trump all across the Midwest, listen to two minutes of Mike Madigan.

    No concern expressed for the loss of high paying manufacturing jobs, or policies to reform workers comp that could stop the bleeding.

    Just a lot of mumbo jumbo about how he has passed 7 successful budgets over the past two years and how we should all pat him on the back.

  27. - RNUG - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 6:11 pm:

    We won’t know the details until it is on the table, but it sounds like yet another attempt to unconstitutionally negate the pension debt … since there aren’t any legal reforms that will save money.

    Even if they come up with a revised ramp, the most it will do is Dave a bit of current cash flow at the expense of higher payments down the road.

  28. - wondering - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 6:13 pm:

    What I am wondering, would like to know is, what pension reform ideas are being floated? Rich, have you heard anything on it?

  29. - Michelle Flaherty - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 6:35 pm:

    Durkin and Radogno are quick to create conflict over just about anything. It’s almost like they’re trying to sabotage any actual progress. Hmmmm.

  30. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 7:07 pm:

    Are they discussing a pension reform for public school teachers, university staff, state workers, legislature, governors, or judges, or all of the above?

  31. - Mama - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 7:09 pm:

    - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 7:07 pm: was I.

  32. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 7:14 pm:

    Rich, I’m unclear on The Senate President’s comment. Please explain what Cullerton meant by “consolidation of government”. Is he referring to local, county or state-wide offices? Thank you

  33. - reasonable - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 7:20 pm:

    After this last election and the millions spent with misinformation, what makes you think the democrats will put votes on any revenue or taxes, the budget will stalemate and it will be up to rauner to figure out what his priorities are with the revenue he has. It will be a long two years and lots of misery

  34. - Mama - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 7:21 pm:

    Madigan knows the governor does not negotiate so why bother why counter proposals?

    Rauner has stated in the past that he will support a bill(s) and then he vetoed them. Madigan has a good reason not to trust this governor’s word.

  35. - northsidenomore - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 7:31 pm:

    Consolidation ? Of course its the locals ! The State has not really contracted its operations nor do they intend to by appearances…this is a deflection from real budget issues…”hey look we gave you less forms of government, we did good” …same costs but be happy because there is less of something you don’t like.

  36. - Loop Lady - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 7:41 pm:

    It’s called saving your hide in the wake of Madigans waning influence in the legislature…just sayin’…

  37. - Blue Bayou - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 7:45 pm:

    Lucky Pierre accidentally nails it:

    “No concern expressed for the loss of high paying manufacturing jobs, or policies to reform workers comp that could stop the bleeding.”

    Exactly. High paying union manufacturing jobs built the Midwestern middle class. With no union wage gains, any manufacturing jobs that come back are going to be lower paying and always at-risk. Manufacturing without any worker protection is a fantasy. Or do you think corporations are moving overseas for the view?

  38. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 7:45 pm:

    They won’t be laughing on 11/9/2018.

  39. - justacitizen - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 7:52 pm:

    ===He considers the past 7 stop gap budgets over the past two years as “a successful framework” for solving the budget crisis. I can’t believe he can say that with a straight face.===

    The Tribune article Sunday “House Dems need new message and messenger” was about Ohio Rep Tim Ryan taking on Nancy Pelosi but is just as relevant for IL. Both Madigan and Pelosi’s messages are getting “old”.

  40. - wordslinger - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 8:00 pm:

    No divide among the GOP leaders, that’s for sure.

    Their lips are locked in unison on Gov. Bank’s tukkus.

    What a way to make a living… for the people.

  41. - Roman - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 8:30 pm:

    Why the criticism from Durkin and Radogno towards Cullerton? They should publicly embrace the fact he opened the door to cutting a deal — even if they don’t believe him. That’s the best way to isolate Madigan.

  42. - Bobby Catalpa - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 8:42 pm:

    Confused here.

    Why is the *minority* instructing the majority how to negotiate.

    Part of the issue — or all of the issue — is that GOP — Radogno, Durkin, Rauner — can’t count. It’s not Madigan. It’s the GOP’s essential inability to understand that, yeah, they still are the *minority*.

  43. - cdog - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 9:34 pm:

    I am beginning to think that Madgan, and his so-called political skills, are completely over-rated.

    Has the Leader of the House of Representatives of the State of Illinois made a new argument, presented a new thought, reacted in realtime to a set of events, spoken with integrity about the best interest of the future of Illinois while showing he is in command of current events, any time in the last year?

    I doubt anyone can find any examples of Madigan saying something intelligent about the pension problem, the budget problem, the backlog problem, etc. All you will find is a bunch of worn-out, tired and shallow talking points.

  44. - Bobby Catalpa - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 9:39 pm:

    BTw — why doesn’t Madigan or Cullerton cut these meetings short and simply say, “You don’t have the votes.”

    That’s all that matters. Rauner can love Trump up and down — but if he doesn’t have the votes, he doesn’t have the votes.

    Good luck, Trump, fixing that.

  45. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 10:11 pm:

    Let Durkin and Radogno have their moments in the media spotlight…that’s all they have.

    As mentioned above, they are of no consequence in Rauner’s Springfield. How many Republican members of the GA would side with their chamber’s “leader” against the governor if it ever came to that? You could hold that meeting in a phone booth.

    Dan Proft has more influence with rank-and-file Republican members than either Durkin or Radogno.

  46. - Rabid - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 3:12 am:

    Durkin has the governor’s ideas, Radogno don’t know anything. The governor’s shadow has turned you anemic

  47. - Rabid - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 3:26 am:

    Two years in and the governor’s leaders can’t get the job done. Sad, should they be replaced?

  48. - Rogue Roni - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 5:45 am:

    It’s obvious that the GOP, nationally and at the state level, need to take high schools civics class again. Probably wouldn’t hurt for them to brush up on that science they’ve been ignoring for a few decades.

  49. - yeah - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 8:47 am:

    So sad Governor Transparency is allowed to torpedo the Public General Assembly Committee meetings, where legislation is suppose to be crafted, discussed, and redrafted. These closed door meetings are a clear sign of the Governor’s ill intent.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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