SPRINGFIELD, Ill.- House Republicans continue to call on the Pritzker administration to implement policy changes in Illinois’ veterans’ homes after the deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle facility.
Republicans claim there’s been “no action” to ensure veterans’ safety going forward following last Tuesday’s hearing. Rep. David Welter (R-Morris) explained while the hearing went over four hours long, lawmakers weren’t able to ask important questions to make the necessary changes.
“I have several more questions for the Deputy Governor and, unfortunately, I didn’t have that opportunity in the committee,” said Welter. “I’m hoping there will be another one scheduled where we will be able to ask the follow-up questions. But depending on how the Deputy Governor answers those, I’m really finding a lot of issues with her recollection of events.”
Welter stressed that lawmakers have only just scratched the surface with these hearings. He said both Republicans and Democrats still have plenty more questions for IDPH as well as the Deputy Governor.
Republicans also continued to say the Pritzker administration failed to protect Illinois’ veterans. Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) emphasized that real leaders take responsibility when disaster strikes.
However, he said Republicans have only heard excuses from Pritzker.
“I don’t know how those involved can sleep at night knowing their lack of action may have caused dozens of people to die and now a failure to acknowledge the true problems could lead to more deaths,” said Caulkins.
Caulkins said the lack of attention paid to Illinois’ veterans’ homes is inexcusable. He called on Governor Pritzker to come forward with a plan of action and to do the right thing for the people of Illinois. However, none of the Republicans speaking Tuesday provided concrete solutions of their own.
Requesting additional hearings
Rep. Randy Frese (R-Quincy) echoed Caulkins statement and said Pritzker needs to take action.
“We need Governor Pritzker to say ‘the buck stops here,'” said Frese. “We need him to work with us to reform the leadership structure that governs our veterans’ homes.”
Rep. Mark Luft (R-Pekin) also expressed his sadness towards the situation. He said this kind of treatment should have never existed.
“It’s our duty to try and ensure, the final years they have here, they are cared for,” said Luft. “Not ignored, not mistreated, and certainly not forgotten.”
Republicans asked for additional hearings to take place discussing the matter. Although, Rep. Dan Swanson (R-Woodhull) explained that jurisdiction falls under the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
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