Western Springs congressman hopes bipartisan solutions continue
There may be one positive outcome to the otherwise frustrating government shutdown, according to U.S. Rep. Daniel Lipinski, D-3rd, of Western Springs.
An informal bipartisan group of 20 to 40 members of Congress meeting earlier this month to end the impasse may have discovered common ground to move forward on other initiatives, but Lipinski made no predictions.
“Hopefully this bipartisan group can do more with getting together and finding compromise solutions,” he said. “But I’m not sure what will happen next.”
Lipinski termed the shutdown “a terrible three weeks” and noted congressional committees continued meeting and conducted business throughout the period to reach a solution. He offered reflections on the shutdown at an appearance in La Grange.
“In some ways, members felt powerless,” Lipinski said, referring to the Tea Party faction of the Republicans who blocked compromise. “That drove us to get together.”
Lipinski, who has been part of the No Labels bipartisan group since 2012, said some members of that group and others began meeting informally after the Oct. 1 shutdown and formulated ideas eventually accepted by congressional leaders.
“It was disappointing to me we were not able to move forward on a bipartisan way out of the grass roots of the House,” he said. “I hope the speaker will be more open to things rising up from members.”
Initially, Lipinski said he heard from constituents on his Facebook page with fringe positions, such as a call to get rid of Obamacare, not raising the debt ceiling and not reopening the federal government.
“But most people just wanted us to get this figured out, that it was disgraceful why can’t something be done,” he said. “They still see a lack of jobs and don’t see Washington dealing with that.”
Lipinksi said he was pleased Congress could resume working on other issues and that the Water Resources Reform and Development Act passed the House Oct. 23. The measure includes an amendment to fund efforts stopping the Asian carp from reaching Lake Michigan from Illinois rivers, despite the electronic barriers near Romeoville and elsewhere.
The bill also will create jobs by rebuilding the region’s water transportation system with repairs to harbors, locks and dams. The Senate passed a similar bill in May, and the measure now goes to a conference committee.
“It was good to see something get done on a bipartisan basis,” he said.
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