SPRINGFIELD — A minute-and-a-half video clip taken from the Illinois House floor in Springfield gained Rep. Mike Bost national attention Wednesday.
Bost, R-Murphysboro, angry over a Democrat-led, last-minute plan to overhaul state pensions, launched into a screaming tirade Tuesday.
Bost’s outburst, directed at Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, was shown on state and national media outlets Wednesday morning.
It began, “Again, total power in one person’s hands — NOT the American way” shortly before Bost tossed a handful of papers up and gave them a midair swat.
Bost tore into Madigan for purportedly making rules that bind legislators and go against the idea of representative democracy. “Enough,” Bost said during his outburst. “I feel like somebody trying to be released from Egypt. Let my people go. My God, they sent me here to vote for them.”
Bost said he thought no differently Wednesday.
“One good thing about this is people in the media understand the tyranny we’re under with this leader,” Bost said.
Bost said he was contacted all day by national media. Additionally, websites such as The Drudge Report, The Huffington Post and YouTube carried clips. The state lawmaker said he received so many emails, his cellphone figuratively melted down.
But he said his colleagues’ reaction was generally empathetic.
“I think they understand. I don’t normally do that,” Bost said Wednesday afternoon while legislators worked to get a state budget passed and continued work on pension reform.
Get news headlines sent daily to your inbox
Bost said his outburst came after he received an overnight, Madigan staff rewrite of pension reform, about 300 pages long, about 7:40 a.m. Tuesday — only 20 minutes before the House was to convene.
“We’re not talking a simple name change of agency,” Bost said about the rewritten plan that he claimed ignored Republican attempts to relieve school districts from assuming pension costs. Republicans said that will result in local property tax increases.
“You are shoving it down peoples’ throats again. He (Madigan) is taking your power,” Bost said Wednesday, reiterating much of the language from his Tuesday outburst. “He (Madigan) creates the rules. … That’s where he has the power.”
Madigan did not retaliate. The speaker cited “frustration, tension, interaction with different personalities pursuing different agendas. That’s life in the General Assembly. That’s life in the House of Representatives,” according to several reports, Illinois Issues among them.
Other southern Illinois state representatives were reserved Wednesday.
“I don’t know necessarily if I have a reaction to it. It’s the end of the session and people get frustrated. Tensions are so high right now,” Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, said.