SPRINGFIELD, Ill.- House Republicans said Thursday morning that Democrats constantly ignore the need for reforms in Illinois.
They claim more than 600 House bills have passed out of the committees since January. Of those proposals, Republicans say 82% have Democratic sponsors while only 18% came from their caucus.
Rep. Amy Elik (R-Alton) recalled when Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch took office with a pledge to keep his door open and have accessibility for members from both parties. She noted that the Hillside Democrat explained all lawmakers could work together to solve the issues facing Illinois. However, she feels Welch hasn’t lived up to that promise.
“Here we are, with 45 days until session adjournment and the Democrat-controlled legislature has failed to put forth any meaningful or substantive legislation dealing with fighting corruption, providing tax relief, and unfortunately no plan put forth to adopt a balanced budget,” said Elik.
Republicans argue ethics reform and property tax rates are the largest issues facing Illinois. Rep. David Welter (R-Morris) explained it’s been months since the Com-Ed scandal implicating former Speaker Mike Madigan.
He named several other acts of corruption in Illinois that should have led to significant reform.
“Yet, no bills have been filed to strengthen our ethics laws,” said Welter. “How many more cases of corruption need to be exposed before House Democrats act on ethics reform.”
Welch: GOP should work across the aisle
Jaclyn Driscoll, Spokeswoman for Speaker Welch, released a statement following the Republican press conference.
“Bipartisanship has been an integral part of Speaker Welch’s legislative career, and it remains a top priority,” Driscoll stated. “Republicans should work across the aisle and come to the table to discuss bills that will help build a better future for the people of this state.”
Driscoll added that many Republicans have proposals “designed to eat up precious time during a pandemic” focused on issues voters previously rejected.
Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) explained Republicans have reached out for Democratic support on their bills in the past. However, he said that hasn’t helped.
“We have had those conversations on different bills and I’ve tried hard,” said Batinick. “I just can’t seem to get any support.”
Welter echoed Batinick’s statement saying Republicans fight for their bills. Yet, he feels some Democratic proposals take priority over theirs.
“When you look at the substantive nature of these bills that have come out of committee, I mean, they’re not allowing Republicans to get actual bills that are substantive,” said Welter. “These ethics bills, we have several stuck in committee right now that would actually be substantive and make changes.”
Welter emphasized that Republicans are ready and willing to pass their bills if Democrats give them the chance.