Gov. Pat Quinn called Tuesday's pension vote “the most important fiscal vote” lawmakers will ever make, according to the Chicago Sun-Times:
Gov. Pat Quinn Monday championed a landmark pension-reform deal and vouched for its constitutionality as he and legislative leaders frantically prepared for what the governor called “the most important fiscal vote” lawmakers will ever make.
The House and Senate were poised for Tuesday votes on a package designed to rescue Illinois from its $100 billion pension crisis, but it seemed clear hours ahead of that expected action that the votes would be extraordinarily close despite an aide to Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, saying the “end is in sight.”
The adrenaline-packed day, which even included at least one political dirty trick aimed at Quinn and sympathetic Republicans, was likened by some to “World War III” because of the fierce combat going on out of public view.
Success is usually a sure bet when Quinn and the leaders are aligned on an issue. But on Monday they found themselves locked in an epic Statehouse struggle against an unlikely coalition that included labor unions, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and even Quinn’s 2010 running mate, Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, all of whom came out against the bill.
“This is a historic vote — probably the most important fiscal vote a member of the Legislature will ever take in their lifetime in the Legislature — so it’s time to get it done and done right,” Quinn said after presiding over the ceremonial lighting of the state Christmas tree at the Thompson Center Monday afternoon.