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Quinn Staying Out Of Debate On Obama Presidential Library Subsidy

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Bob Roberts is a native of Wilmette who has worked in Chicago media...
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(CBS) — Governor Quinn is staying out of the argument over Thursday’s unusual Illinois House Executive Committee vote on state financing for an Obama presidential library.

The committee advanced the $100 million subsidy to attract such a library to Chicago by a vote of 9-0 — even though only five legislators were present.

How was that possible?

The executive committee’s chair, State Rep. Robert Rita (D-Blue Island), resorted to a parliamentary maneuver, obtaining leave from those present to use the last roll call — even though the previous roll call had been the day before and involved a totally different subject, a proposed Chicago casino.

Quinn Staying Out Of Debate On Obama Presidential Library Subsidy

pat quinn Quinn Staying Out Of Debate On Obama Presidential Library Subsidy
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The committee meeting had been recessed to the call of the chair, not adjourned.

The four Republican members of the committee were not present for the Thursday vote, and State Rep. Ed Sullivan (R-Mundelein) said he would have voted no.

Asked three times Saturday whether he would urge Rita to retake the vote, Quinn ducked the question.

“That’s a matter for the legislature,” he said when pressed. “Ultimately, if this bill passes, it will come to my desk.”

If it does, don’t expect Quinn to veto it.

“Making investments in something like a presidential library and museum, like we have done with Abraham Lincoln, that’s paid tremendous dividends in jobs and growth already for Illinois,” he said. “The same thing could happen here.”

The bill would commit $100 million to bring the library to a site in Chicago. Critics have noted that the Clinton and George W. Bush presidential libraries have been funded entirely through private donations.

Sullivan said he would have voted no, because he also believes it should be privately funded.

The bill, sponsored by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) and State Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago), now moves to the House floor for a vote. Madigan, Davis, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other backers say such an investment would attract tourists and spur economic development.

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