As government shutdown nears, talking points grow louder

April 8, 2011

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There's still no deal to avoid a federal government shutdown. That's led to amped-up talking points between Democratic and Republican members of Congress, including those from Illinois.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin claimed in a conference call Friday that the sides are in agreement on overall budget cuts. But Durbin said House Republicans are insisting that some federal funds for women's health be "basically eliminat[ed]."

"I cannot believe that we are are going to close down the government because of the insistence of the House Republicans in closing down access to this kind of healthcare in our state," Durbin said.

That's just not true, according to Republican U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren of West suburban Winfield.

"The entire time that we've been talking about this it's that we have to reduce the size of the federal government. That's what this is about. It's about the money," Hultgren said. "And for the Democrats to try and shift it off to something else, is just disingenuous."

The game of chicken continues, with the deadline quickly approaching. Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk of Highland Park said he expects a deal to be struck with just two or three hours to spare.

"I think congressional - the negotiators - typically work up until the last minute," Kirk said. "But my guess is that because President Obama doesn't want a shutdown, Speaker Boehner doesn't want a shutdown and Senate Majority Leader Reid doesn't want a shutdown, you will have a successful end to the negotiations today."