Breen pulls support for Rauner after abortion expansion decision
Gov. Bruce Rauner's signing of a controversial abortion bill has cost him the support of House Republican Floor Leader Peter Breen (R-Lombard), according to a statement.
"In the face of overwhelming evidence of Rauner’s inability to competently administer the Illinois government, inability to stand up to (House Speaker) Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) effectively, and inability to keep his word and his commitments, I can no longer support him," Breen said in his statement. "And whether or not they are able to agree publicly, I know hundreds of elected Republicans, along with hundreds of thousands of Republican voters, ... feel the same way I do.”
"I believe that a woman living with limited financial means should not be put in the position where she has to choose something different than a woman of higher income would be able to choose," Rauner said.
The legislation mandates state health insurance and Medicaid cover abortions and guarantees that abortion will stay legal in Illinois if the U.S. Supreme Court were to overturn its Roe v. Wade ruling that made abortion legal nation.
Rauner denied that he went back on his campaign promise in 2014 that there would be "no social agenda," insisting that he always been for abortion rights.
"I have not and never will change my views," he said. "I personally believe that a woman should have, must have the right to decide what goes on in her own body, that a woman should have the right to decide her health care."
Breen indicated his decision to withdraw his support wasn't based solely on Rauner's signing of HB40.
"I've had a front row seat to watch the performance and ability of Bruce Rauner over these past three years," Breen said in his statement. "I’ve seen him rapidly hire and terminate numerous staff members, highly competent professionals who were proven successful in their prior roles. Inexplicably, they appeared incompetent while working for Rauner."
Breen said he "personally observed" Rauner "badly botch" negotiation efforts with members of the House and Senate until Rauner could no longer be in the same room as Madigan.
"As the lead advocate for the Republicans on the floor of the Illinois House, I have given Bruce Rauner every benefit of the doubt," Breen said in his statement. "I supported his vetoes on a number of bills that would have made it more difficult to do business in Illinois. Any elected Republican in this state would have vetoed those same bills. Hardly exceptional. The only unique feature left in Rauner’s favor is that he writes big campaign checks. For Republicans whose elections require those contributions, I understand their reluctance to be critical of Rauner. They may even still give him the benefit of the doubt, as I did until today."