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Statehouse

Cullerton On Rauner's Deal Talk: 'I'd Be Happy To Know What He's Talking About'

John Cullerton
Brian Mackey
/
NPR Illinois
Senate President John Cullerton speaks with reporters the day the so-called grand bargain fell apart.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has been saying he thinks a comprehensive budget deal is “very close.” He points to negotiations in the state Senate, so Brian Mackey asked the Senate president if that’s the case.

Rauner has been traveling the state, doing campaign-style events, saying he’s "hearing chatter … that the negotiations are proceeding, and they’re starting to develop some consensus on certain things that have been difficult so far, so I think that there’s a chance.”

I asked Senate President John Cullerton, a Democrat, if the governor had been hearing that from him.

“No," Cullerton said. "But he should come back from wherever he is now, and we’re in session, and we should talk and he could tell me — I’d be happy to know what he’s talking about.”

Cullerton pointed out that there had been bipartisan progress toward a “grand bargain" — two months ago — until Republicans suddenly said they couldn’t vote for it.

“Many of them told me that’s because the governor asked them not to, because it wasn’t a good enough deal for him yet,” Cullerton said.

Cullerton says if Rauner really thinks they’re that close, he should lay out exactly what he needs to make a deal.

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