With a potential shut down of the federal government less than a week away, Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Deerfield) had a chance to educate more than 140 of his constituents about the budget process today at Sedgebrook’s senior community in Lincolnshire.
A group including 12 students from Stevenson High School, residents from Sedgebrook along with others from throughout the 10th Congressional District went through an exercise sponsored by the Concord Coalition designed to show them the hard choices necessary to craft a budget.
“Given what is going on it is important we have a chance to interface with our representative,” Joe Adler of Highland Park said of his attendance today referring to the partisan battle going in Washington over the continuing resolution to fund the government after Monday. “These are tough issues. He (Schneider) has a tough job.”
By Wednesday morning, Schneider will be back in Washington awaiting action by the United States Senate on a resolution passed by the House of Representatives, 230-189, which will keep the government running but will not fund the Affordable Care Act. Schneider voted no.
“Its goal is to shut down the government,” Schneider said explaining his vote. “The economy is slowly coming back five years after the collapse. We need to focus on the economy and not shutting down the government.”
With Republicans and Democrats divided, Schneider hopes to rely on a promise he made the night he was elected to do something about gridlock in Washington. He has accomplished that on some issues like a letter he wrote last week to President Barack Obama with Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) asking tough action on Iran’s effort to build a nuclear weapon. “We hope to get all 85 members of the freshman class to sign it,” he said.
Schneider admits the continuing resolution is harder. “The idea of closing down the government to defund Obamacare is so irresponsible,” Schneider said. “Ideally something will come back from the Senate and I can use my ability to work across the aisle to do the right thing.”
One person who now has a better understanding of the workings of Congress is Stevenson High School senior Rohan Mathew of Buffalo Grove. Congress needs to get a move on and do the job they are there to do,” he said. He left with a better appreciation of the challenge of a lawmaker’s duties.
Nanci Blatt, a former Highland Park citizen who now lives in Lincolnshire, has worked for a number of government officials and has an understanding of the process. She was part of one of the small groups working together today to talk about how to craft a budget.
Recognizing differences within her group on some issues, Blatt’s group all agreed on one thing that seems to be dividing Washington. “No one wanted to do away with the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare),” she said.