While North Suburban members of Congress continued to disagree on how to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, citizens shopping at the Lake Forest and Highland Park spoke of their representatives’ inability to compromise.
The House of Representatives passed its version of a package to allow the federal government to borrow more money on a 218-210 vote. The bill will cut government spending $971 billion over 10 years. It will also require the passage of a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution before another increase in February.
The looming default by the United States remains a possibility as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has pronounced the bill “dead on arrival” when it arrives in the upper chamber. Less than two hours after passage in the House, the Senate voted it down, 59-41.
voted in favor.
“It’s a shonda,” Gene Greenberg of Highland Park said using the Yiddish word for disgrace. “It’s outrageous those guys continue to fool around and stiff the American people.”
Veronica Norton of Lake Bluff was less colorful than Greenberg but every bit as forceful in her message to and
Dold joined 218 other Republicans voting for the legislation. Schakowsky voted with 187 other Democrats and 22 Republicans against the bill.
“They’re not thinking of the American people. They’re thinking about their party,” Norton said. “Everybody has to compromise. They need to work on unemployment.”
A bold, bipartisan plan
Dold says he is fully committed to raising the debt ceiling to let the government make good on its financial obligations. He also thinks legislating debt reduction through spending cuts is necessary to grow the economy.
“We need a bold, bipartisan plan to move forward,” Dold said. “As a small business owner, I know that uncertainty hinders job creation. We must do all that we can to put our nation on a fiscally sustainable path to give to job creators confidence to grow their businesses and create jobs.”
Schakowsky is hopeful the Senate will craft a proposal to avoid default before Tuesday’s deadline. She blamed her Republican colleagues for playing politics with the American economy as a hostage.
“This is the last time you’ll see the proposal. It was pure self indulgence on the part of the Republicans,” Schakowsky said. “They have brought us to the brink of an economic catastrophe.”
Reid is already putting together a package Schakowsky believes will become law. “Serious people will get to work and hopefully pass a bill that will get to the President’s desk,” she said.
Most of the citizens who spoke with Patch want to see compromise and no default. Rick Cline of Libertyville does not understand how the federal government has let the problem go as far as it has.
“Defaulting on our debt is worse than me missing 10 mortgage payments,” Cline said. He has never missed one. “We should do what we need to do (to raise the debt ceiling).”
He thinks President Barack Obama should be able to act alone.
Like Cline, Susan Hebson of Lake Bluff fears a government default will make the economy worse than it is. She and her husband operate small businesses and are already feeling the effects of a tight credit market.
“If we don’t (raise the debt ceiling), we’ll all see a decline in economic growth. My husband sells to small businesses and they can’t get loans,” Hebson said. “They (Congress) have to work together.”
Richard Blair of Highland Park wants the President to have the ability to borrow what is necessary for the government to pay its bills. He thinks too much time has elapsed while Congress has tried to decide what to do. “It’s sad this is still going on and they’ve been unable to act,” he said.
'Time to compromise'
Some people were more partisan in their blame but still want to see their representatives work together to make a deal. “The Republicans have let it go too far. It’s time for compromise,” Arnold Cohn of Highland Park said. “The Tea Party is holding us hostage.”
Megan Kinsler of Highland Park and Sonia Greenberg, Gene’s wife, take a more egalitarian approach to assessing the blame for the lack of Congressional action. Kinsler thinks they should cut programs she deems unnecessary.
“They’re all idiots,” Kinsler said. “All they have to do is cut out spending on Cowboy poetry and Washington will have all the money it needs.”
Sonia Greenberg is another local resident who wants to see the government focus on public needs rather than partisan politics.
“Dold, (Sen. Richard) Durbin (D-Springfield) and Kirk should stop haggling and get this done,” Sonia Greenberg said. “They all have to make cuts including the very wealthy.”
Debbie Vanoer of Deerfield may have the personal biggest stake in the outcome of the debate. Her husband is currently serving with the United States military in Afghanistan. She depends on his government paycheck to meet her obligations.
“I’m very concerned how it will affect my husband,” she said.