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House Adjourns Without Pension Action

The Illinois House has adjourned without taking any action on pension reform. Just this morning, Gov. Pat Quinn called on lawmakers to address the pension deficit, which is nearing $100 billion. But it didn't happen.

The House speaker didn't call the latest pension reform proposal to the floor for a vote before adjourning lawmakers this evening.

The most recent idea was one from Quinn. It involved appointing an eight-member commission to come up with recommendations for fixing the state's pension funding problem. He introduced it in a committee today, after sponsors of a reform plan said they didn't have the votes to pass it. That was the plan that would have required employees to contribute more to their own retirements.

Senate President John Cullerton reacted to the inaction.

"It's unfortunate, but we have to start up again literally tomorrow," Cullerton said. "And I will be more than happy to offer the same compromise I just talked to you about."

Cullerton had questioned the constitutionality of the plan, but said now he's willing to consider it if lawmakers have a backup in the event a court strikes it down. The Senate had approved a proposal from Cullerton last year that would've given employees the option to keep their current benefits. The House never took up that idea.

Since the lame-duck session is now over, lawmakers will have to reintroduce any pension proposal and start at the beginning of the legislative approval process.

When urging lawmakers to act this morning, Quinn said the state's economy is being "held hostage" by "political timidity."