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Protester at Biggert's Office: 'I am Seething' About Job Cuts

Protesters took to Rep. Judy Biggert's office in Willowbrook Tuesday to encourage her to support the jobs bill that was before the U.S. Senate.

About half the protesters who came to Congresswoman Judy Biggert's Willowbrook office Tuesday afternoon were unemployed.

"I got laid off last month. My 401K is now gone. I'm paying COBRA (insurance coverage) that I can't afford, and I'm 62," said Winfield resident Terre Houte. "I've been working since I was 16, thinking that I was going to retire, and now I can't."

Houte was one of about 10 protesters who stood outside the representative's office holding signs and chanting, "Jobs not cuts!"

They spoke with Brian Colgan, district affairs director from Biggert's staff, who said he is willing to sit down with anyone who wants to discuss the matter further.

The group was one of dozens across the country taking part in demonstrations coordinated this week by moveon.org, to support President Barack Obama's $447 billion jobs bill, scheduled to go before the Senate Tuesday.

The bill calls for extension of unemployment benefits, spending to upgrade school buildings, tax incentives for businesses that hire and cuts in payroll taxes.

The protesters are coordinated by volunteers for moveon.org, a liberal, non-profit political action group.

Free trade agreements before Senate Finance Committee today

The West Suburban branch of the organization came to Biggert's office to protest her support of free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea being voted on by the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday.

"Together, these agreements would create 250,000 American jobs and increase exports by $13 billion dollars," said Biggert in a Sept. 8 statement.

A Hinsdale union representative disagrees.

"I don't think that's a correct representation of what's going to happen," said Joseph Pijanowski, a directing business representative for Hinsdale-based Local 126 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. "Trade pacts are destructive for jobs...While they might help a select few wealthy corporations, on the whole, it's a negative for the entire country."

Protesters want higher taxes for millionaires

Protesters said they also want Biggert to support higher taxes for millionaires.

"As a millionaire [herself,] we would like her to take a stand for a little bit higher taxes, and we can use that money for jobs and to repair roads," said Siobhan Higgins Burke, an Aurora resident who helped coordinate Tuesday's demonstration. Burke lost her job working for the Illinois Department of Human Services Put Illinois to Work program when funding for the program was cut from the state budget.

"I'm seething with anger," said Burr Ridge resident Indra Makhija, a retired economics teacher who said that she feels the government should not be cutting programs that support the poor while allowing tax breaks for the rich. "It's the 99 percent [of Americans] that are suffering...They're not asking for much."

Representatives from Biggert's office say this is not the time to increase taxes that would affect small businesses in Illinois.

"Time and again, liberal activists at MoveOn have argued for more so-called stimulus spending and higher taxes, and the result has been higher debt and continued unemployment," said Abby Milone, Rep. Biggert’s deputy press secretary.

The congresswoman's representatives said she is supporting the free trade agreements because exports would support 65,000 jobs in DuPage, Will and Cook Counties.

“This week, [Representative Biggert's] working to pass the three pending Free Trade Agreements, because the economic benefits to Illinois—and suburban Chicago in particular—are overwhelmingly positive," said Milone. "There are over 109 existing exporters in the 13th district—small and large—that will be able to compete on a more level playing field and create more jobs here in the community thanks to these agreements.”

Sixty votes needed for a vote in the Senate

Representatives from Biggert's office said that although the congresswoman is in favor of some parts of the President's jobs bill, she feels other parts of the bill need work.

"Some parts of this plan, including certain tax cuts, credits and deductions do have the potential to win bipartisan support. For example, the President voiced support for extending the deduction on investments in new equipment. That makes sense. But these tax cuts must be targeted at economic growth, and not just used as an excuse to raise taxes on those who create jobs," said Biggert in a Sept. 8 statement following the president's job speech to congress.

The bill needs to receive 60 votes to cut off debate and bring it to a vote in the Senate.

“If they don’t pass the whole package, we’re going to break it up into different parts,” The New York Times reports President Obama said Tuesday during a jobs-related meeting in Pittsburgh.

Tom in Woodridge October 15, 2011 at 01:15 PM
Typical liberal... get emotional and insulting at those who disagree. Liberals simply do not understand that the issue is the cost of healthcare, not who pays for it. When was the last time you questioned any medical professional as to why their fees are as high as they are? Have you asked anyone wht the cost was before you approved a procedure or a test, etc? If not, then shut up and pay. Hundreds of thusands of dollars as you say is absurd but, you should direct your sniviling there rather than who pays. Why don't you contact your president and ask him why tort reform has not been even discussed let alone managed? Ask him what he has done to lower healthcare costs. Why are doctors millionaires? Why don't you liberals go to school and learn economics? I will not be a society probelm as you hope but, unfortunately.. you already are.
Tom in Woodridge October 15, 2011 at 01:25 PM
Let's not forget how Obama has helped the Russian space agency create jobs now that we, as a country are unable to place someone into space. Let's see how Obama forbids drilling in the Artic so Exxon Mobil makes a $3.2B deal with the Russian to drill in the Artic http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/story/2011-08-30/ExxonMobil-will-drill-in-Russian-Arctic-Black-Sea/50191134/1 . Maybe we could use some of these jobs? We are giving billions to Brazil so they may drill off their coast... who will gain from this deal? We give foreign aide to countries who loan us money. Maybe the liberals will wake up, take a course on business economics and fire this president. This liberal, socialistic ranting is not American. We are a capitalistic society and too bad if the ignorant, stupid children currently occupying Wall Street do not like it. Socialism does not work. If you want socialism, move to Greece or Italy as I see their economies are doing so well.
Tom in Woodridge October 15, 2011 at 07:07 PM
So many liberals cannot or will not see this.. that there are a vast number of people managed to provide for themselves. Great point. Government is not here to save you from yourself. You are not entitled, you earn. If you squander with too much spending in your personal life then you pay the consequences, as poor as they may be. No one wants to hear it but, there is only so much money and you can borrow for only so long. Liberals prefer to blame and blame and rail against social classes. Action is needed, not blame. No more taxes Obama.. it is like giving the drunken sailor more alcohol. Now is the time to cut off our government and make drastic cuts in everything... from defense to social programs. We do not have the money... don't you liberals get it? One final note.... people are paid for what they are worth. The Fortune 1,000 CEOs make and deserve millions of dollars. Professional athletes... same thing. There are 300M+ people in the USA, mostly legal. Out of these 300M+, only 1,000 people are capable of running these companies. Corporations make billions but, what do you think a new drilling platofrm, or earth sattelite or a manufacturing plant costs to build and maintain? Where do you think this comes from? Losses? So.. Liberals... stop spending money you don't have while treating yourselves to benefits on our backs.
Sundance October 15, 2011 at 11:57 PM
Look at this chart to try to understand that GOVERNMENT GREED needs to stop as government spending is now over 40% of GDP for the first time since WW2. http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/spending_chart_1903_2010USp_12s1li011lcn_F0t_US_Government_Spending_As_Percent_Of_GDP If you look at the debt clock link in my above post the spending to GDP ratio is currently at 46.48% with the debt per US family currently at $662,500.00. It is insanity to suggest that more government spending is a solution to our economic problems as that will only add to the $650,500.00 per family debt that our elected officials have already burdend us with. Enough is enough. If we don't demand fiscal discipline from elected officials they will continue down the same path of increased spending that you see in the chart of spending growth linked above. Little by little the government has been taking more and more taxes to expand the public sector well past the point where costs exceed benefits. Government has become too big, too intrusive and too inefficient and it is ruining this country and putting us on an economically unsustainable path. Illinois has the highest bond default risk in the country which means we are the most economically irresponsible citizens in the USA. I am close to hoping for default as that might actually wake people up from their stupor.
Sundance October 15, 2011 at 11:58 PM
I forgot this which shows what bad shape Illinois is in. http://seekingalpha.com/article/222995-state-default-risk

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