Morning Spin: Democrats ramping up pressure on Rauner over Trumpcare – Chicago Tribune

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As Republicans in the U.S. Senate struggle to put together the votes on their version of a health care overhaul, Democrats in Illinois have been conducting a daily drumbeat of attacks critical of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on the issue.

The governor’s administration has said it is studying the Senate GOP and House Republican-passed plans to repeal and replace Obamacare and the governor has only said he has had some “concerns” over the measures.

On Tuesday, J.B. Pritzker’s campaign sent a mailer statewide that includes a pair of boxing gloves while warning: “Bruce Rauner and Donald Trump: A one-two punch that could knock out your health care.”

The mailer says an estimated 600,000 people who get health care under Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid in Illinois could lose coverage. It adds that 5.5 million Illinoisans could lose protections for pre-existing conditions if Rauner sought a waiver of such coverage.

“J.B. Pritzker is taking on Trump and Rauner to make sure Illinoisans don’t have to pay more money to get less health care,” the mailer says.

Another contender for the Democratic nomination, Northwest Side Ald. Ameya Pawar, accused Rauner of staying quiet on the issue because of a sizable tax break he says the governor could achieve under one version of the bill.

“Rauner remains silent because he doesn’t want you to know he is putting his own wealth over the health and well-being of Illinois families,” said Pawar, the 47th Ward alderman.

In addition, Illinois’ Democratic U.S. senators, Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, sent another letter to Rauner asking him to give his position on the Senate Republican health care plan.

“It is not unreasonable to request that a sitting governor provide input or an analysis about how proposed federal legislation might impact their state, especially when the legislation would impact every single person in this country and one-sixth of our nation’s economy. Which is why we have, on multiple occasions, requested information from you about how these bills would impact our state,” the senators’ letter said.

Meanwhile, one Illinois Republican is speaking out against the Senate GOP proposal — Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor.

The proposal, he said, “is flawed legislation that will jeopardize Medicaid insurance for thousands of Lake County residents, shortchanges our senior citizens, disproportionately impacts low-income wage earners and makes us more vulnerable to epidemic level outbreaks.”

In a statement, Lawlor said, “Eliminating Medicaid insurance for 22 million Americans, including over 6,000 Lake County residents, is unconscionable and immoral.”

Lawlor says he wrote in Maine Sen. Susan Collins for president on his ballot last fall. He said her opposition to the Senate GOP plan “represents the viewpoints of thousands of moderate Republicans across this nation who feel that their party’s leaders have left them.” (Rick Pearson)


What’s on tap

*Mayor Rahm Emanuel will preside over the City Council meeting. More on that later.

*Gov. Rauner had no public events scheduled.

*The Illinois House and Senate continue meeting in special session.

*Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle will preside over a meeting of the commissioners starting at 11 a.m.

*Federal Judge Joan Lefkow is set to hear from attorneys for Medicaid recipients who want Illinois to pay the program’s bills faster.


From the notebook

*City Council meets: Aldermen will meet Wednesday and consider rules aimed at cracking down on prostitution in massage parlors as part of a crowded City Council agenda.

Ald. Matt O’Shea’s ordinance would allow the city to levy bigger fines against massage establishments operating illicitly and let women arrested in raids at such establishments claim they were victims of human trafficking in order to avoid criminal charges for prostitution.

In addition, the Rules Committee is set to meet prior to the council meeting to consider a proposal to allow a total of 30 minutes of testimony from the public near the beginning of all council meetings. The plan — which would then go before the full council Wednesday — comes in response to a lawsuit alleging aldermen are breaking the Open Meetings Act by not allowing such testimony. But it’s far from certain this measure will placate critics. One of the plaintiffs in the case has said the ordinance doesn’t go nearly far enough in letting residents have their say.

And the City Council could vote on downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly’s order for the city to lock the Ohio Street pedestrian underpass at the lakefront overnight during warm months following the recent fatal shooting nearby of a 25-year-old woman. The proposal drew accusations by far South Side Ald. Anthony Beale of a double-standard in the city’s response to violence in tony tourist areas compared with neighborhoods with a lot of minority residents.

Aldermen also will consider an ordinance pre-emptively prohibiting the city from contributing information to a federal Muslim registry, an idea President Donald Trump has floated but not pursued. And they are set to take up Mayor Emanuel’s bid to give police and firefighters grants to get them to buy homes in some of Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods. Some aldermen expressed concern the first responders will be able to collect the $30,000 payments while purchasing homes in nice neighborhoods in otherwise violent police districts.

Also on the agenda is a raft of mayoral appointments, which could stretch the meeting as dozens of council members stand to praise Emanuel’s leadership acumen for making the choices and to score points with the new department heads a bit. Samantha Fields is set to take over as the city’s new budget director, Randy Conner will officially get named head of the Water Department after Emanuel fired his predecessor because of a racially charged email scandal, Jamie Rhee will get re-appointed chief procurement officer and Joseph Ferguson will get another four years as city inspector general.

Ferguson made news Tuesday during a Budget Committee hearing on Emanuel’s recommendation, when he called for the city to seek a federal consent decree to govern Police Department reform efforts. (John Byrne)

*Airport workers get talks: Mayor Emanuel’s administration is talking with Service Employees International Union Local 1 about workers’ rights for employees at Chicago airports rather than risking the potential embarrassment of the City Council approving an airport workers collective bargaining ordinance over the mayor’s objection.

The proposed ordinance would require companies that get contracts at O’Hare and Midway airports for ground handling services like baggage collection and airplane cleaning and servicing to enter into collective bargaining agreements with their employees and pay “prevailing wages.” It has been stuck in the City Council Workforce Development Committee since April.

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