Heartland Congressmen weigh in on government shutdown - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Heartland Congressmen weigh in on government shutdown

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

Two Heartland House members weigh in on the government shutdown.

First, Republican Congressman Jason Smith from Missouri's Eighth District spoke.

I spoke with Smith just minutes after a speech to fellow lawmakers where he called on all of them to refuse their paychecks until the government is back open.

"There are thousands of federal employees right now that are being furloughed because the government's being shut down," Smith said. "And small businesses are being affected in all different aspects, whether it's canoe rentals, whether it's meat inspectors, it's a variety of things. And the politicians need to be treated the same way."

Smith says they understand the country's frustration, and members of both parties should be able to cooperate without compromising their values in an effort to end the shutdown.

"People need to cooperate," said the freshman Congressman. "You can cooperate with individuals without compromising your core values. And that is what people are upset with. Regardless of if you're a Republican or a Democrat, we need to cooperate and work together to move this country forward. And we can find common ground. Whenever the House sends over three different bills to the Senate and they've just been flat out refused to and rejected, that's the problem with Washington. And I'm hoping if anything good comes out of this shutdown, that it actually makes Republicans and Democrats to cooperate to move our country forward."

On the other side of the aisle, Illinois 12th Congressional District Democrat Bill Enyart says he won't take a paycheck either. Enyart plans to donate that money to a local food bank during the shutdown.

 He says the immediate impact will be felt in southern Illinois.

"Another big federal employer in my district is the Shawnee National Forest," Enyart explained. "It brings tourism dollars to southern Illinois. When we start closing parks, national forests, and recreation areas we're impacting tourism. We're impacting the economy. And it's frankly just no way to run a railroad."

Enyart, who's been in Congress just nine months, calls this the most frustrating time of his life.

He says a few irresponsible politicians are holding the country hostage.

"Taken one on one, virtually every Congressman is a fine person to talk to. Every Congresswoman is a fine person to talk to. But, sometimes you get a herd mentality. And unfortunately that herd mentality right now is being run by some pretty irresponsible people."

Enyart continued, "I could solve this tomorrow, Kathy. I could fix this tomorrow. You put a straight up and down vote on the House floor with simply 'shall we continue the federal government for 6 weeks based on last year's figures?' And the figures, by the way, are the figures that the Republicans demanded to the penny."

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