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Schakowsky talks what looms after shutdown deal

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (at right) chats with State Rep. Robyn Gabel (center)  D-18th, and others following a legislative breakfast in Evanston on Friday.  |  Bob Seidenberg~Sun-Times Media
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (at right) is hoping moderate voices will prevail after a federal shutdown. Schakowsky was at a legislative breakfast in Evanston on Friday with State Rep. Robyn Gabel and others. | Bob Seidenberg~Sun-Times Media

The deal entered into by Congress to end the government shutdown last week “is really not adequate,” and leaves serious work for legislators to do before the agreement runs out Jan. 15, said U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-9th of Evanston, on Friday.

Speaking after a legislative breakfast in Evanston, Schakowsky said the agreement reached last Wednesday between legislative leaders, “was not a bill actually for Democrats to pass, but of course we had to, to (end) a government shutdown.

“The cost every day to the government was $150 million, not to mention the cost to the economy of $24 billion, so we had to do it. It (the shutdown) was not a rational thing,” she added.

“But now we’re going to get into serious negotiations and hopefully at some point get rid of the sequester,” Schakowsky said.

The sequester refers to across-the-board cuts to discretionary spending in place since March 1.

The cuts include medical and science research programs, as well as social services like Meals on Wheels and Head Start, where the sequester resulted in removing some 57,000 children from the rolls this fall.

Schakowsky drew hope from a comment by House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers, a Republican, calling the sequester cuts unrealistic.

“So what you see is the majority of the House of Representatives is willing to do sensible things,” she said. “It has been this small group of people who are willing to put the country into bankruptcy, not pay our bills, this Tea Party group that has been holding everybody hostage.

“If (House Speaker) John Boehner will continue to allow the majority to rule, we can get a lot of things done,” she added.

“Really, getting a day away from a default is going to be very costly to us,” she continued. “The United States Treasuries were thought of as zero net risk and it is based on that, that gold prices across the world are set.”

To upset that system for political reasons, “it’s completely insane,” she said.

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