Politics Notebook: What shutdown? Washington spinmeisters working overtime

News-DemocratOctober 10, 2013 

The partial shutdown of the federal government has one group of employees working extra hard: the Washington spin doctors.

The shutdown has given both parties lots of opportunities to take jabs at members of Congress.

For example, Congressional hopeful Mike Bost said in a news release that it's "appalling and embarrassing" that U.S. Rep. Bill Enyart, D-Belleville, was the only member of the U.S. House to vote against funding for military chaplains during the federal government shutdown.

Bost has announced he will run in the Republican primary in March in the 12th Congressional District now represented by Enyart.

"Now is not the time to be putting petty partisan politics and games ahead of Southern Illinois families," said Bost, a state representative from Murphysboro. "As a U.S. Marine, and as a father to a son who is currently an active U.S. Marine, I'm offended and incredibly disappointed with Enyart's vote today."

Enyart defended his vote against what he called a "stupid" resolution allowing military chaplains to still perform their duties during the shutdown. Enyart was the lone "no" vote of 401 that were cast in the House on the measure.

As the former head of the Illinois National Guard, Enyart said the measure was "an absolutely phony, feel-good bill" that doesn't resolve Washington's bigger issues. He said it included no funding for paying the chaplains.

Bost said Enyart "has shown us his true colors, and it's appalling and embarrassing that he would place military families, members and chaplains on the back burner in order to prove a point and continue the partisan bickering."

On the flip side, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has taken repeated shots at U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville. The DCCC has issued multiple news releases that say "Congressman Davis' shutdown" is having all sorts of bad effects: reducing monitoring of diseases, child cancer patients being turned away and potential harms to Social Security and Medicare.

"Congressman Davis' reckless shutdown has now dragged on for 10 days, but he continues to refuse to work with Democrats on a reasonable bipartisan solution," said the DCCC's Emily Bittner. "Congressman Davis continues to be wildly out of touch with the reality in Illinois, where voters are looking for solutions, not more radical demands that hurt our seniors and the middle class."

Davis spokesman Andrew Flach said Davis is trying to work with congressmen from both sides to find common-sense solutions to the country's fiscal problems.

"It's unfortunate that Washington Democrats have, thus far, refused to negotiate with Republicans, and are focused on scoring political points rather than finding common ground to get the results that the hardworking taxpayers of this country deserve," Flach said.

Davis represents the 13th Congressional District, which includes parts of Madison County.

LEGISLATOR PAY: Much has been made of Gov. Pat Quinn's attempt to withhold lawmakers' pay until they come up with a solution to the state's pension crisis.

Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okawville, noted recently that he filed a bill, shortly after taking office, that would have halted legislators' pay until they came up with a pension fix and paid down the state's bill backlog. Meier's bill got a cold reception in the House, and went nowhere.

Did Quinn steal Meier's idea?

"I think it shows that he's a little slow," Meier told the website Reboot Illinois. "Where was he in January, February, March, April, May and June on this? Now that he wants to be re-elected, he wants to steal my idea and go forward with it."

See the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxecRM85Qp8#t=14

RAUNER IN COLLINSVILLE: Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner will hold a meet-and-greet from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday at American Legion Post 365 in Collinsville.

The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

COSTELLO OFFICE HOURS: State Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton, will be available to meet with constituents next week in Millstadt and Valmeyer. He'll be at Millstadt Village Hall from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, and at Valmeyer Village Hall from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

CONCEALED-CARRY SEMINAR: State Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okawville, and Rep. Dwight Kay, R-Glen Carbon, plan to hold three seminars on Illinois' new concealed-carry law. Topics will include qualifications for getting a permit, and where a gun can legally be carried.

The seminars are planned for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 28 at Lewis & Clark Community College's N.O. Nelson Campus in Edwardsille, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 30 at O'Fallon Public Library and 6:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at Breese American Legion.

MCCARTER BUSINESS SEMINAR: State Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, will hold a free workshop Wednesday designed to help business owners lower their costs. It will include information from the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

"The workshop will include information about IDES programs that could help lower hiring costs, reduce financial burdens and provide assistance navigating the complexities of unemployment insurance," McCarter said. Other topics will include hiring veterans and access to the state's Illinois Job Link database.

The workshop is 8 to 11:30 a.m. at the Helen Matthes Library, 100 E. Market Ave. in Effingham.

KAY SEMINAR ON SCAMS: Rep. Dwight Kay, R-Glen Carbon, along with Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office and Treasurer Dan Rutherford's office, will hold a seminar at 10 a.m. Friday in Edwardsville on how the elderly can avoid financial scams.

It will be held at the Main Street Community Center, 1003 N. Main St. Information is available by calling 307-9200.

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