SPRINGFIELD-Voting with huge majorities, the General Assembly on Wednesday took major steps to protect the system of child care and home healthcare built up over the years with bipartisan support that has been under attack by Gov. Bruce Rauner.
By votes of 68-43 and 67-44, the House of Representatives approved legislation, part of an “Invest in Illinois” package, that would preserve health insurance, training and living wages for the workforce that cares for people with disabilities, seniors and children of working parents.
Following is the statement of Keith Kelleher, president of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, the union that represents the state’s caregiving workforce:
“Today’s votes were a positive step in preserving a system of care that has served Illinois well, allowing working parents a pathway to the Middle Class, giving seniors and people with disabilities choice and independence in their care, saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and fulfilling our moral obligations to take care of our neighbor.
“Child care and home healthcare have been under relentless assault by Gov. Bruce Rauner, who has chosen to use the pain of our state’s most vulnerable populations as a tool to extract radical concessions and score political victories that have NOTHING to do with the welfare of our state.
“It’s too bad that Republicans who formerly supported these vital programs for their constituents have been silenced by Gov. Rauner, who has injected politics into what both sides of the aisle, for decades, have considered good policy.
“The legislation that passed will preserve the training that keeps the cared-for safe; preserve the health insurance that keeps the caregiving workforce healthy and saves taxpayer dollars; and ensure that the lowest-paid workforce in the state is able to stay on the job and provide a continuity in care for seniors, children and people with disabilities.
“Our workers and the people for whom they care have suffered unduly because of Bruce Rauner’s heartless choices. Today, our General Assembly did the right thing both morally and economically. This marks a big step in rolling back the Rauner overreach and ensuring that everyone in Illinois who is in need of care can get it.”