Question of the day
Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017
* As we discussed yesterday, candidate Bruce Rauner told the pro-choice group Personal PAC during the 2014 campaign that he supported “restoring abortion coverage under the state Medicaid plan” and backed legislation “to restore state employees’ health insurance coverage for abortion.” Both of those provisions are in HB 40, plus a provision to delete the “trigger” mechanism in state statutes that many say would repeal abortion rights protections if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Rauner cited the public funding aspect when he vowed to veto the bill last week.
Personal PAC held a press conference today (click here for video) to publicly release Rauner’s 2014 questionnaire to reporters, saying it was the first time it had ever released one of its questionnaires.
Rauner was also repeatedly criticized during today’s press conference for “lying” to pro-choice voters, particularly by the group’s director Terry Cosgrove. Rauner, you will recall, ran as a pro-choice Republican and his wife Diana and several of her friends helped pay for a full-page Chicago Tribune ad that touted him as a pro-choicer.
The rhetoric was also harsh about Mrs. Rauner today, with Personal PAC founder Marcie Love saying about that newspaper ad, “So, Diana, did you lie to all your friends… or did Bruce lie to you?”
* The feeling is mutual in the Rauner camp. Back in 2014, Personal PAC paid for advertising which claimed that Rauner supports “dangerously restricting abortion.” Rauner, however, only differed with Personal PAC on his 2014 questionnaire by saying he favored parental notification, which the group opposes.
That same Personal PAC ad also claimed that Rauner and his wife had each contributed $100,000 to “the most right-wing, anti-abortion and anti-birth control Republican candidates running for the Illinois House and Senate.”
* Mrs. Rauner fired back in an open letter…
Cosgrove was appointed to the Human Rights Commission by Quinn, a position he no longer has.
* Anyway, back to HB 40. Cosgrove pointed out today that state fiscal impact notes filed on an identical bill in 2015 by the Rauner administration found little to no actual impact …
* But Cosgrove also admitted that there aren’t enough votes in the House to override a Rauner veto.
There are committed believers on both sides of this issue. No doubt about it. But there’s also been a ton of speculation that this bill was designed to do what it has done: Put Bruce Rauner on the spot in a big way with pro-choice and pro-life voters. Rauner took big heat from his right flank, so he appeased them and flipped on Cosgrove, whom he doesn’t like anyway and who failed to defeat him in 2014. And now Cosgrove is kicking up dust in the media.
But since there is a credible veto threat, HB 40 proponents have to make a decision: Do they push ahead as-is and dare Rauner to veto their bill; or do they pull out the Medicaid funding and state employee health insurance aspects and just run the “trigger” component?
If they try to call Rauner’s bluff and he vetoes it anyway and Roe v. Wade is overturned and they can’t override the veto, havoc could ensue. But they probably won’t get the full “benefits” of this alleged political hit without Rauner’s veto. And if Rauner signs an amended bill, he could then take victory laps around both the pro-choice track (for guaranteeing women’s rights to choose in case the Supreme Court rules against them) and the pro-life track (for preventing state taxpayer funding of abortions beyond what is already allowed).
* The Question: Should HB 40’s supporters forge ahead as-is, or amend the bill to Rauner’s liking? Give it some thought, then click here to take the poll and explain your answer in comments, please.