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As Congress struggles to find a solution to the partial government shutdown and avoid a potential default, southwest Missourians rallied to express their frustration. KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports.
SPEAKER:“What do we want?
CROWD:“Our government back.”
SPEAKER: “When do we want it?”
More than 60 protestors gathered near the intersection of Battlefield Rd. and Ingram Mill in Springfield Tuesday, 15 days into a federal shutdown and two days from a deadline to raise the debt ceiling. Participants held signs reading, “Reopen the government now,” “Don’t hold our economy hostage,” and “Billy Long is wrong for SWMS.”
The Springfield office for the representative of Missouri’s 7th District was less than a block away, where the crowd would deliver a cease and desist order, titled: Stop the Extreme Politics and Do What’s Right for Working Families. The order’s goal is to call on the Republican leadership to end the shutdown and let furloughed employees go back to work.
“It’s just ridiculous that the Republicans are keeping our government hostage with their demands that are… should not be associated with running the government,” says Wolff.
Demands such as delays in parts of the Affordable Care Act in order to reopen the government. Farncie Wolff says her son is active duty military, and that he and his fellow soldiers are losing benefits amid the shutdown, such as tuition assistance. Wolff says she, along with the other protesters, want their voice heard. Her message to Long:
“Stop this and open up the government. Quit holding it hostage, and don’t let us default.”
Steve Polzin holds a sign that reads: “The GOP, our bridge to the 11th Century,” which, as he explains, paints the picture of a party that is going backwards.
“I believe anytime either party wants to hold the whole country hostage to get their way; they have no leadership, and they’re trying to govern by throwing tantrums and that’s not the way to run the greatest country in the world,” Polzin said.
“The Congressman has voted almost every day to provide necessary funding to the government. And his desire is to see that legislation picked up in the Senate and passed by the President.”
Royce Reding is the district director for Rep. Long and says “the Congressman is very in touch” with his constituents and that he welcomes their comments. He points to a recent bi-partisan effort where Long co-sponsored legislation reinstating death gratuity benefits to the families of fallen soldiers. Delays of the payments, a byproduct of the shutdown, infuriated both parties and the American people.
Missouri ProVote said a cease and desist order was also delivered to the office of Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer in Jefferson City.
Meanwhile, there had been a frenzy of activity in Washington Tuesday amongst lawmakers, but a deal had yet to be reached as of Tuesday afternoon.