Although they are from different political parties, two members of Congress from northern Illinois expressed remarkably similar sentiments Monday about the Senate action attempting to end the government shutdown and what lies ahead.
In separate interviews with WNIJ News, Republican Adam Kinzinger of the 16th District and Democrat Cheri Bustos of the 17th District both agreed that it is better to have the government open in order to move forward.
Neither of them liked the string of short-term continuing budget resolutions that led to the three-day shutdown.
“My hope will be that, first and foremost, we stop this nonsense of having a budget that lasts a couple weeks at a time ...” was how Bustos described the situation. “It leads to uncertainty in the military, it leads to uncertainty in the federal government. People back home, I can tell you, speak very loudly and clearly to me that they’re saying ‘enough already.’”
Kinzinger was even more blunt: “Three-week continuing resolutions are really stupid,” he said.
Both also noted which party is in charge in Washington, although they did it from different angles.
“I hope the Democrats, they understand that they’re not in the majority,” Kinzinger said. “It’s one thing to fight for your priorities; I respect that, but it’s another thing to hold the government hostage ... Hopefully, this is a moment where the Democrats kind of touched the stove and realized it was hot, and now we can move together and try to do some things in a bipartisan way.”
Bustos put it this way:
“While there’s been this constant finger-pointing and back-and-forth name calling, it is important to point out that it is President Trump in the White House, it is Speaker Ryan running the House, and it is Leader Mitch McConnell leading the Senate – all of which are part of the Washington Republicans.”
Both representatives expressed the need for Democrats and Republicans to work together if the country is to move forward.
Bustos said her hope is “… that we sit down in a constructive bipartisan manner and we continue to negotiate for a longer-term budget and keep the government open.”
Kinzinger also emphasized the importance of negotiation.
“We have to come to a bipartisan agreement on what’s called our topline numbers – what we’re going to spend on defense; what we’re going to spend on the domestic side of the house. We need to continue the bipartisan negotiations on the issue of DACA,” he said of the controversial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. “I think those two big areas are going to be what’s in front of our face in the immediate term and then continue to do what we can to hopefully get the economy to grow and get people back to work and raise those middle-class incomes.”
Kinzinger took a bipartisan attitude of sorts on dealing with any government shutdown, regardless of which party caused it. “We’re willing to negotiate; we’re not going to do it while the government’s closed. And that, frankly, is exactly the position that President Obama took in 2013 when we mistakenly did it.”
And Bustos said her support for what the Senate did Monday is rooted in the need to move ahead.
“I wish that we could be calling the shots as far as what hearings we have and what negotiations we are leading, but the fact of the matter is that Democrats have a 24-vote deficit in the House and so, as much as we want to talk about certain issues and pass certain issues, we don’t have enough votes in order to do that.
"I’m voting for this because it’s a vote for more time to negotiate a longer-term budget. It is really a ‘yes’ vote, gives us a reset to all of this, and it reopens the government while we negotiate."