(The Center Square) – After wrapping up the spring legislative session, the partisan divide is on full display between supermajority Democrats and super minority Republicans at the Illinois statehouse.
Just before passing partisan-drawn maps last week, House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, directed comments to Republicans on the House floor.
“Republicans at all levels of government have historically done everything possible to stifle voting rights,” Welch said. “And they want us to think they’re the voice of the voiceless?”
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, Tuesday indicated that is a facade for a power grab by Democrats.
“Pardon my French, but Republicans were screwed on the map, Illinois citizens were led down a road of good government, transparency, and ‘we’re going to get out of the business of drawing maps, we’re gonna be fair,’ ” Durkin said. “They did just the opposite.”
The maps passed along party lines. Republicans said the maps are based on inaccurate data and were drawn by Democrats behind closed doors.
“This arrogance and this ultimate power and control because of the ability to maintain a majority under any circumstances based on the way the map is drawn, it’s not right, it’s not right for citizens and it’s not fair,” Durkin said.
Welch said after the House adjourned early Tuesday morning Democrats and Republicans are still friends.
“There’s going to be some things that we disagree on,” Welch said. “We’re Democrats and they’re Republicans. Our core values are different.”
Two years ago, there was a bipartisan agreement on an infrastructure plan with tax increases and various tax incentive programs. But, Durkin said Democrats have made clear there is no more bipartisanship.
“The fact is those days are over,” Durkin said. “This is about power and control and that is evidenced by the map. So it’s my job to work even harder this next year-and-a-half to win seats and to prove to Illinoisans that there needs to be a balance of power.”
Despite the two parties being far apart on the maps and budget, it’s possible there could be a bipartisan energy package with subsidies for nuclear generation facilities in the weeks ahead.