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items tagged with John Cullerton

Rauner Bungles What Should Have Been Triumphant
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2016-01-24 11:09:09

Governor Bruce Rauner blew a perfect opportunity last week to finally drive a public wedge between Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan, to clearly put Madigan on the defensive, and to maybe finally make progress on an important issue that might save the state a billion dollars a year.

But he badly bungled the rollout of a deal with Cullerton on pension reform. Instead of describing the agreement for what it really was, Rauner greatly exaggerated its scope and portrayed it as a big defeat for AFSCME and other unions.

In reality, the deal with Cullerton (and there is still a deal with Cullerton, despite what you might be reading elsewhere) is narrow in scope and elegantly designed to put Madigan in a truly tough position.

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Governor Launches New Attacks Against Speaker, Mayor
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2016-01-10 11:20:52

“He has taught us how to deal with him,” explained one top official in Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration when asked why the governor has once again cranked up his public criticism of House Speaker Michael Madigan.

You may already know that the governor blasted both Madigan and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel during an appearance on Dan Proft’s WIND radio program last week.

After accusing Emanuel of being “afraid” to take on Madigan, Rauner said the reason for this was self-evident: “The speaker has been the most powerful politician in the state of Illinois for decades. It’s the main reason we’re in such big trouble as a state.”

Rauner went on to essentially blame Illinois’ “long-term, slow death spiral” on Madigan and said the majority party “likes the status quo,” claiming the speaker is “not sensitive” to the real-world problems of the middle class. “He’s got a great system; he controls it. And right now they’re unwilling to change. And without change, we’ll never get a true balanced budget."

So what happened here? The governor seemed to mute his criticisms of Madigan in the closing weeks of 2015, even mostly holding his fire when Madigan skipped the last leaders’ meeting just before the holidays.

New year, new attitude, apparently.

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Battles Between Chambers Keep Tensions High
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2015-11-22 11:50:52

Earlier this month when the General Assembly was in Springfield, House Speaker Michael Madigan called Senate President John Cullerton six different times to ask him to move the child-care-program-restoration legislation once it passed the House.

Yes, six times. The man is most definitely persistent.

As you probably already know, the deal cut with Governor Bruce Rauner’s office by state Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields) and others to mostly restore the draconian Child Care Assistance Program cuts Rauner made this past summer involved not voting on a bill that would’ve fully restored the governor’s cuts.

Madigan wanted that bill to pass, however, and apparently believed through much of the day that his chamber would pass it, even though it seemed obvious that Representative Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago) had once again jumped into the political bed with the GOP governor. Some House Republicans were talking about voting for the bill, though, and that kept Madigan’s hopes alive.

Because he thought it still had a shot, Madigan would not relent on Cullerton. And while the constant calls reportedly irritated Cullerton, they didn’t work. Cullerton backed up his member’s deal and the speaker was politely refused. Six times. The bill died in the House when all Republicans and Dunkin voted against the speaker.

Madigan’s pressure on Cullerton was ironic considering that the speaker is sitting on several Senate bills. Cullerton’s chamber has twice passed minimum-wage-increase bills that have gone nowhere in the House despite the fact that Madigan pushed a referendum last year to raise the minimum wage. Cullerton also passed a property-tax-freeze bill that provides more money for Chicago Public Schools and kills off the state’s ancient school-funding formula. But that hasn’t moved in the House, either.

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Script Gets Flipped on Speaker Madigan
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2015-11-15 11:39:32

“He seems so done with it all,” said one top Republican earlier last week about House Republican Leader Jim Durkin. “He hates this,” said a close Durkin pal not long afterward.

The overtime session’s constant battles with the House Democrats and super-strict marching orders from Governor Bruce Rauner were wearing Durkin down, said some folks who know him. “This summer was pretty nasty,” he admitted to reporters last week.

But that changed by Tuesday. Asked to describe the progress of the previous few days on a scale of one to 10, a cheery Durkin replied, “Eight, nine, 10.” He seemed back on his game.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Michael Madigan clearly had a very bad week.

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What’s Really at Stake in Public Meeting with Governor, Leaders
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2015-11-08 17:34:42

The concept of a public meeting on November 18 featuring the four Illinois legislative leaders and the governor sounds nice, but will it actually move the ball forward and break the months-long governmental impasse?

As you might know, a group of good-government types recently called on the state’s leaders to sit down and talk about solving the state’s budget issues. The four tops and the governor haven’t met as a group since late May.

House Speaker Michael Madigan quickly accepted and then suggested that the meeting be held in public. The move has quite a few people scratching their heads, because nobody expects anything will be solved while the public is looking on.

So why bother?

A big reason is that the Democrats want the public to see what they’ve been seeing with their own eyes for months. They say the governor walks in, exchanges pleasantries, and then repeats the same basic talking points that he’s been making since April.

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