Roskam votes 'yes,' Hultgren 'no' to deal
After weeks of pushing for delays to President Barack Obama's health care law in exchange for a budget agreement, U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam voted for a plan to end the government shutdown and avoid default, saying the country has to pay its bills.
"We laid out a series of alternatives, all of which have been rejected by Sen. (Harry) Reid and the Senate Democrats," Roskam, a Wheaton Republican and part of the House leadership team, said. "I'm unwilling to risk the full faith and credit of the United States, and it's important that the government pay its bills."
Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Highland Park was part of a bipartisan group of senators who supported a plan he's called the "foundation" of the deal struck by Senate leaders. He voted for the final product.
But Republican U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren of Winfield voted "no," emphasizing concerns about the health care law that in large part led to the standoff.
"I don't see that this bill does anything to address my concerns," Hultgren said.
Democrats have been critical of some Republicans' efforts to tie budget talks up with the health care debate. Local Democrats voted for the deal. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, took to the Senate floor Wednesday to laud the health care law, and suburban Democrats criticized the long stalemate that ended with Republicans not getting much of what they wanted.
"I don't know what we got out of this besides a bunch of people that got hurt," said U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a Hoffman Estates Democrat.
The more than two-week shutdown has nagged some suburban residents who either work for the federal government or depend on it for services. Nearly 2,500 civilians working at Great Lakes Naval Station in Lake County were off the job when the shutdown started but were called back to work after a week.
U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, a Deerfield Democrat that represents the base, said he got a "torrent" of calls and letters from people hurt by the shutdown.
"This is a real impact on our economy," he said.
But the shutdown affected others in a variety of ways.
Two Brothers Brewery Co. in Warrenville applied to the federal government for approval of the company's first holiday beer just before the shutdown.
But the chocolate and coconut concoction couldn't be approved over the last two weeks, and the delay could leave the company unable to fill tens of thousands of dollars in preorders, co-founder Jason Ebel said.
The federal government has to approve all labels and many new beer formulas.
Ebel said it was frustrating to have business hampered by politicians' disagreements.
"You've got goodwill attached to your brand," he said. "Then you have to go back and say, 'Oops, sorry, we can't do it.'"
The legislation set new budget and debt deadlines in January and February, leaving some Democrats concerned another stalemate is possible.
"I hope everyone sees that this is not the way to negotiate a budget in this country," said U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, a Naperville Democrat.
Roskam said a process is in place where lawmakers in the coming months can talk about some of the country's big budget questions, including the health care law.
"It's not popular," he said. "It's not ready for prime time, and it clearly needs to be revisited."
Hultgren says he thinks the last two weeks have helped draw attention to it and that he doesn't think another shutdown is on the horizon.
"I hope we can deal with this sooner than that," he said.