Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) tells the City Club of Chicago on Monday, March 25, 2013 that the federal government cannot--and should not-- help Illinois solve its unfunded pension mess. ""I don't think there is a federal bailout anytime soon," she said. "And we need to fix this in our own state." (video by Lynn Sweet)
CHICAGO--Freshman Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.)--providing examples of congressional cooperation in an otherwise highly charged partisan House environment-- praised House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) twice during an appearance at the City Club of Chicago on Monday.
Duckworth, as is well known, is a wounded Iraq war vet, who lost her legs and mangled an arm when her helicopter was shot down. When she arrived in Washington three months ago to get an office assignment, she asked Boehner to be exempted from the usual freshman lottery for office space because not all offices where freshmen often end up are wheelchair accessible.
She got that and more, Duckworth told the audience at Maggiano's on Grand.
"I reached out to the Speakers' office because of my wheelchair and my needs. I requested I not go in the lottery," she said.
"...Speaker Boehner could not have been more gracious or accommodating." Not only did Boehner make sure she got an office that was accessible, "he proceeded to make sure they made bathrooms wheel chair accessible for me, that they made the gym accessible. He did this all under the House Administrative budget. And then he assigned, provided me with a full time ADA assistant," she said, using the initials for the Americans with Disability Act.
So there are, Duckworth said, "signs of hope."
The assistant helps Duckworth "with accessibility and traveling for official duties in Washington, DC and in the 8th Congressional District," Duckworth press secretary Anton Becker told me.
In addition, Duckworth thanked Boehner--who controls what gets voted on on the House floor--for allowing votes on measures Democrats wanted more than Republicans including votes on relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy and the fiscal cliff deal.