Pension Fight Shows Democratic Leader Differences

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The Democratic-controlled Illinois Legislature is scheduled to address pensions again this week during a special session, but it's unclear if a solution is in reach.

Gov. Pat Quinn called lawmakers back to Springfield after the legislature adjourned last month without settling on a fix for the state's $97 billion liability. The unfunded obligation to retired employees continues to grow by an estimated $17 million a day.

Central to that logjam is a stalemate between House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton. Cullerton is a one-time protege of Madigan, who's seeking a stronger posture for himself and his chamber.

Lawmakers are expected to vote again on the Madigan-backed proposal. But it has an uncertain fate in the Senate, where Cullerton's union-backed plan is preferred by a number of members.


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