Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

October 21, 2013

Shimkus discusses shutdown during Effingham stop

EFFINGHAM — Now that a potential crisis was averted by a last-minute deal that ended the 16-day federal government shutdown last week, the congressman who represents much of central and southern Illinois said Monday that it's not something he wants to endure again.

"I think the potential for another government shutdown is less than before," said U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville. "This shutdown wasn't a good experience for anyone."

After some last-minute negotiations from Senate leaders Harry Reid, D-Nevada, and Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, the Republican-controlled House voted 285-144 and the Democratic-led Senate voted 81-18 to pass a continuing resolution that will fund the government through Jan 15, 2014 — and lifts the debt ceiling limit through Feb. 7, 2014. President Barack Obama signed the resolution, ending the shutdown and the furloughs of about 400,000 federal employees.

Shimkus said he voted for the continuing resolution for two reasons.

"First, we kept the sequestration numbers intact and agreed to decrease the amount of discretionary spending," he said. "Secondly, the economy is still in a malaise — not nearly where it should be — and the blow of a possible default would have been devastating."

Federal spending is divided into one-third discretionary — half of which is military spending — and two-thirds entitlement spending, which includes items, such as Social Security, Medicare and interest on the national debt.

Shimkus said there are three key elements to avoiding another government shutdown.

First, he said, a joint Budget Committee will meet in an effort to pass an annual budget, something that has not been done on the federal level for several years. Shimkus is not optimistic that the December talks will bear fruit.

"I'm not optimistic about December," the congressman said. "I think the Democrats will ask for higher taxes, and we will push for more spending cuts."

Shimkus said the continuing resolution debate in January should be less contentious than the gridlock this fall for one reason.

"Obamacare will not be part of the debate," he said. "We're to the point where it will succeed or fail on its own merits."

Shimkus added that the recent deadlock was stimulated by Republican desires to elimimate portions of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

The congressman said the biggest single financial issue facing the nation is entitlement spending.

"We need to reform entitlement programs, especially Social Security," he said.

Shimkus noted that when the Social Security Act was originally passed in the 1930s, the average American male lived only two years beyond the initial retirement age of 62. Now, with the retirement age at 67, men are living an average eight to 10 years beyond that age. Moreover, the average life expectancy of an American woman is more than 80 years old.

The congressman emphasized that these changes would not affect today's seniors.

"We're talking about my age group and younger," said the 55-year-old congressman, adding that he would consider voting in favor of raising the retirement age to 70.

Shimkus added that Congress may also consider means testing as a way to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits.

"Should millionaires be able to draw Medicare?," he asked. "That's a question we'll have to consider."

When Shimkus returns to Washington today, he will have more immediate concerns than the federal budget. As chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce's subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, he will be chairing discussions over an update to the Toxic Substances Control Act.

"It hasn't been reviewed for 30 years, and it needs to be updated," he said.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • tony- app maker 1.jpg Dieterich grad markets word game application

    Dalton Hinterscher is something of a Renaissance man in the making.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • MIller, Jay C 021314.jpg Miller sentenced to 17 years in heroin death

     An Altamont man was sentenced Thursday to 17 years in prison in connection with the fatal heroin overdose of an Effingham woman earlier this year.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • No Headline Provided SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Here are the winning numbers selected Wednesday in the Illinois State Lottery:My 3-Midday6-2-4My 3-Evening4-7-5Pick Three-Midday4-8-0Fireball: 3Pick Three-Evening5-6-0Fireball: 4Pick Four-Midday3-5-5-1Fireball: 2Pick Four-Evening6-

    July 31, 2014

  • tony- dieterich app maker pic Dieterich grad markets word game application TONY HUFFMANDaily NewsDalton Hinterscher is something of a Renaissance man in the making.A former standout basketball player at Dieterich High School, Hinterscher followed his intellectual pursuits into college. Entering his second year as a Software

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Complex support divides council All indications at Tuesday’s special meeting of the Effingham City Council indicates Effingham Park District will not get the $1 million it is asking for to help build the Richard E. Workman Sports and Wellness Center.In fact, Mayor Merv Gillenwater

    July 30, 2014

  • Correction It was incorrectly reported in Saturday’s Effingham Daily News that federal sex crime suspect Nathan Maphis was at large. Maphis is being held in Madison County Jail. The newspaper erred. Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, at bill.

    July 30, 2014

  • tony- community garden 2 Learning and growing together The installation of a Effingham Community Garden sign marks the growing success of a common place for Effingham residents to cultivate plants and produce.“We have 23 large plots and two small plots out here this year,” said University of Illinois Mas

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-30 kitchen fire pic Kitchen fire damages home An unattended kitchen stove led to a full-still fire call at 507 Park Hills Drive Tuesday afternoon.A passerby made a 911 call and reported visible smoke from the eaves of the home at 1:16 p.m. Arriving on scene, Effingham firefighters entered the ho

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man fatally shot in Pana standoff, officer wounded

    Illinois State Police(ISP) and Christian County Sheriff's Office are investigating a shooting that occurred on Tuesday, July 29, in rural Christian County that involved ISP SWAT, a Pana Police officer and an armed offender.

    July 29, 2014

  • City to determine contribution A request by Effingham Park District representatives for a million dollars to help construct the Richard E. Workman Sports and Wellness Center is being considered at a special Effingham City Council meeting this evening.Some commissioners questioned

    July 29, 2014

AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.