WASHINGTON — Democrats hit congressional Republicans Friday, including Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, for votes to "defund" the Affordable Care Act and to cut about $40 billion over the next 10 years from federal food assistance programs.
But Davis and Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, defended their votes to eliminate funding for Obamacare.
"Our vote today was a vote to fund the federal government through Dec. 15 and defund the train wreck that is the Affordable Care Act," Davis said. "Our Senate colleagues have repeatedly asked for the opportunity to defund the health care law and now we are giving them that chance. I look forward to returning to Washington next week to see what action the Senate will take so that we can continue to work to ensure that the federal government remains funded."
Shimkus, whose district includes parts of northern and eastern Champaign County, as well as Vermilion, Douglas, Edgar and Coles counties, said his "constituents have been very vocal in expressing their displeasure with our spending habits in Washington. They are equally vocal about defunding Obamacare."
George Gollin, the University of Illinois physics professor who is seeking the Democratic nomination to run for Davis' seat, decried the freshman congressman's votes.
"These votes to deprive hungry people of food and sick people of health care are exactly why Rodney Davis must be defeated next November," he said. "I volunteer at a soup kitchen every week where I see people already getting food stamps who still can't feed their families."
Ann Callis, the former Madison County judge who also is seeking the 13th District Democratic nomination, said Republicans are running the risk of a government shutdown because the Democratic-dominated Senate is not expected to go along with the Obamacare defunding, which is contained in the congressional resolution.
"By threatening to shut down the entire government in order to win a political fight, Republicans have put the livelihood of millions of Americans in doubt to prove a political point," Callis said is a written statement.
Shimkus noted, however, that the continuing resolution passed by the House on Friday would fund the government into December.
"This short-term spending plan gives Congress and the president time to work out the appropriations for the full fiscal year," he said. "I would hope that between the (continuing resolution) and the upcoming debt-ceiling debate, we can reach long-term agreements."
Sen. Dick Durbin, meanwhile, called on House Republicans to soften their stance on the cuts to the food stamps program.
"And let me say this about food stamps: This idea that we're going to cut almost $40 billion out of the food stamp program over the next 10 years means that we're going to be denying basic food to children, to mothers with small children, to the elderly, and to the disabled. We're a better nation than that," Durbin said. "Because of this recession, a lot of families, even some working families need a helping hand. I hope we can find other ways to solve our deficit issues and still keep our word that we're a caring nation and want to help those families in need."