LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Detroit’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr is in Lansing updating lawmakers on the city’s bankruptcy as they consider a potential vote on a financial bailout to help Detroit emerge from insolvency.
“This was quite a day for Mr. Orr who was in a new arena, a legislative arena, briefing lawmakers of all stripes, trying to convince them to go along with this grand bargain,” reported WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick.
“He said there is momentum on that. What he didn’t say is that that momentum is threatened if lawmakers decide they don’t want to go there,” Skubick said.
Orr on Tuesday declined to comment on Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger’s demand that unions add money to a deal to prevent steep pension cuts and the sale of valuable art. Orr said says he’s explaining to legislators his proposed restructuring plan and focusing on what’s “feasible” — although Bolger doesn’t seem to be backing down.
Orr says Detroit’s reaching deals he thinks make sense after “hard-fought” negotiations. After meeting with Orr, Bolger didn’t back down from insisting that unions kick in money.
The success of Orr’s plan hinges on $350 million promised by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder meant to reduce the impact on pensioners checks, which are part of the bankruptcy deal. The money is part of more than $800 million from foundations and others.
Skubick says Orr spent the morning talking to six Republic Senators.
“They wanted guarantees that this is not going to happen again if they cough up a yes vote,” Skubick said, “Asked if there was a guarantee, Orr said he wasn’t going to use that word, but there are issues built into this settlement that are going to say that this is not going to happen again. This is a key, key point.”
Orr will be back in Lansing on Wednesday, scheduled to meet with other legislators and Gov. Snyder as the drill to get votes continues.
Detroit hopes to exit bankruptcy by the fall, but the city’s plan first must face a series of court hearings this summer before Judge Steven Rhodes.
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