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Christie Reaches Deal with Dem Leaders on Pensions

2:34 PM, Jun 16, 2011 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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The New Jersey Star Ledger reports that Governor Chris Christie has reached a deal on pension reform with the Democratic leaders of the state senate and assembly. How do we know Christie got a good deal? The Democratic majority leader in the state assembly is accusing the Democratic speaker of betraying the party:

The agreement did not go down easy with all of the Legislature’s top Democrats, including Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Cryan (D-Union), who emphasized that Oliver didn’t have a majority of Assembly Democrats on board.

"For those of us who haven’t sold out our party, we decline to accept. And for those of us who work for a living, we decline to agree," Cryan said in a telephone interview. "The Speaker doesn’t have the majority of her own caucus, and as the majority leader, I say she shouldn’t put it up. And as for the rest of us, we all want health care. We all believe in a better life for us and our children. And how terrible it is that the Democratic Party today chose to take a different path."

Details of the deal: 

The legislation would force public employees to pay more for their pensions and health benefits and push back their retirement age. Although Christie and top Republicans have long pushed similar changes, tonight’s statement was their first public acknowledgment that they would back the Democrat-authored compromise legislation.

Christie hopes to realize $300 million in savings by overhauling health care benefits in his $29.6 billion budget, which lawmakers have until June 30 to adopt.

The announcement came on a day when the public employee unions launched a last-ditch effort to derail the plan. 

If the budget passes, it will be a huge victory for Christie. And the calls for him to run for president will grow even louder.

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