An Open Letter to Congressman Hultgren: Why Did You Vote to Default?

By voting to default, Congressman Randy Hultgren cast his for a rigid ideology rather than for the country.
By voting to default, Congressman Randy Hultgren cast his for a rigid ideology rather than for the country.

Dear Congressman – This is a sorry time for residents of IL-14.  You were the only Illinois Representative who voted to default.  285 votes were cast for the country and 144, including you, voted for rigid ideology.

So why did you decide to put “party before country?”

You claim you voted “No” because you did not want to vote for an agreement that ignored our massive debt.  Really? Although the debt deserves attention, and responsible fiscal policies are important, can it be true that your vote was a principled response to the debt? 

We doubt it. 

Let’s look at some statistics, from the Treasury itself. 

Ronald Reagan became President with $848 billion in debt and left office with $2,698 billion in debt, a 218.16 percent change.  George W. Bush assumed $5,728 billion in debt when he took office.  On January 20, 2009, when Barack Obama took the oath of office, the national debt was $10,627 billion, or a percent change of 85.53 percent during Bush’s eight years in office.  As of September 30, 2013, the day before the shut down started, the debt amounted to $16,738 billion, a percent change of 57.5 percent since he became President. 

As you can see, Congressman, President Obama has done far better than Reagan, and considerably better than George W. Bush in managing the debt. Yet, you want us to believe this nonsensical shutdown and your vote to continue it was all about the debt. 

We’re sure you will pardon us if we are just the tiniest bit skeptical about your stated motives, especially since the most oft-mentioned objective of the shutdown, repealing or defunding Obamacare, is likely to add to the deficit, according to the Congressional Budget Office: “On balance, CBO …estimated, repealing the ACA would affect direct spending and revenues in ways resulting in a net increase in budget deficits of $109 billion over the 2013-2022 period.”  No, Congressman, sorry, this vote wasn’t about the deficit.

So, is it possible that your vote was merely a continuation of Mitch McConnell’s ultimatum: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term President”?  Since your party failed miserably in November 2012 to accomplish that objective (to the tune of about five million votes), can this entire shutdown be about nullification?  In other words, changing the result of an election your party lost – big. Reversing Obamacare was Romney’s incessantly stated goal, and the American people said “we want affordable health care” by voting for the President.

Indeed, the number of people who were signing up for Obamacare while the shutdown dragged on has itself emphatically reiterated that statement.  Romney wanted a fiscal spending plan that favored the rich over everyone else and was draconian in the hardships it would visit on those who could least bear them. It’s same plan Paul Ryan continues to advocate in your party – a plan to which the American people have already emphatically stated “No, thank you.” 

But that’s not sufficient for you, Congressman.  No, you want to try to hide it from us by talking about the debt, even though there is no reasonable factual support for your statements.  Here’s the unvarnished truth: You were the only Illinois Congressman who voted to join those elements of your party who refuse to listen to the American people who spoke unmistakably last November.  You’re not fooling anyone Congressman, except yourself.  

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Jim October 20, 2013 at 12:59 AM
Yes, well said. Another pertinent fact about the deficit is that Obama was digging us out of one of the worst financial disasters in many years. Thus the stimulus, which obviously added a great deal to the deficit. Better than a possible depression. Although I suppose the tea partiers don't worry much about that. These tea party folks cloak themselves in patriotism, when their intent is anything but. In Robert Draper's Wonderfully titled book, "Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the US House of Representatives", he chronicles how the night of President Obamas first win, Eric Cantor, Jim Demint, Paul Ryan etc. met for four hours plotting their strategy to torpedo Obama's presidency. And they are still quite willing to bring the country to the edge of disaster, if it means derailing the President. The result of the latest shenanigans is not only the aforementioned 24 billion, but a dead weight on the still recovering economy...just in time for the holiday season. One of the most obvious ways to cut the deficit is to get the economy cooking...but the House could never consider passing the President's job's bill...give the President a victory? Unthinkable. I have never seen a meaner, more self centered crowd in all my days of watching politics. They're perfectly willing to put the country last if they can hurt the administration. Very sad.
Len Robertson October 20, 2013 at 01:29 AM
During the Bush and Clinton years, people were encouraged to start 401's and 457's to aid in their retirements and they did just that. During 2008, most who had their 401 nest eggs kept them because they firmly believed America would recover. It did and they were rewarded for keeping the faith. But the Republican Party that likes to call itself the responsible business party has twice threatened those 401 and 457 nest eggs. In the 2011 standoff, the Market dropped 2000 points before it was over, destroying 401's and 457's in the process. Not exactly a pro business action. By rights, all those Republicans voting to shut down the government over partisan squabble should have been hauled to the woodshed and given a good tanning, but apparently they weren't. Over the past several weeks, the Republican Party has held the nest eggs of Americans hostage again. Many Republicans don't seem at all bothered that they are destroying peoples hard earned savings by their thoughtless and cavalier behavior. Consider this, Mr. Hultgren: if at any time you vote for something that results in the Stock Market plunging a 1000 points or more, you had better have a second career because those who saw their savings vanish will never forget and they will never forgive what you did.
Michael Linder October 20, 2013 at 07:24 AM
So now, what's next? Randy Hultgren is the only member of Congress from Illinois to turn his back on the people, to attempt to force default, which may have changed the fundamentals of how our economy works, forever. Will the GOP in Illinois attempt to find a more sane candidate to face Hultgren in a primary election, or will they sit back on their belief that IL-14 is a "safe" Republican seat? I find it ironic that these same Republicans who would rip apart Social Security in favor of a 401k type retirement for the masses would toy with economy in such a way as to only prove that the open market is way too volatile to provide for an economically safe future? I think we are getting too much influence by a handful of billionaires on some of our Representatives. How, oh how, can the voters of the 14th district have elected this guy who is so out of step with the majority of us who actually love our country?
Jack October 20, 2013 at 08:53 AM
So what's next....be ready to vote out this tea party corporate puppet. It is sad watching him being led around by his GOP party bosses. spineless !
anonymous October 20, 2013 at 08:53 AM
sometimes I think everything will turn out ok and then I read s**t like this and remember why we're all f***ed- and yet you confederacy of dunces will still be pointing fingers as the Titanic slips under the waves.
Charles Woodward October 20, 2013 at 10:33 AM
Anonymous. Everything will turn out OK. We live in the greatest country in the world. American's are not as dumb as you think. It's just not the America that you and the Tea Party are trying to turn it into by tossing the Constitution under the bus.
Mike October 20, 2013 at 11:01 AM
Tenth amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Unless you can point to the amendment that states "The people shall be required to purchase insurance coverage" then I think it's pretty clear which side is disregarding the Constitution - and it ain't the Tea Party
anonymous October 20, 2013 at 11:47 AM
@charliewoodward-now get in you PJs and wrap yourself up tight in your US flag and I'll break it to you gently that there is no Santa Claus. The scary part is Americans are DUMBER than I think and you're my proof.
Lou B. October 20, 2013 at 01:41 PM
Ted Cruze gets a standing ovation in Texas yesterday, a state run by Republicans, with soaring housing prices, and a booming economy. Failed Illinois, run by liberal Democrats, soon to crash pension schemes, ever higher taxes, lowest debt rating in the USA and 2nd highest unemployment, and Democrats STILL want more of the same for Illinois. Keep up the good work Randy, we appreciate your courage.
Walt Hines October 20, 2013 at 02:06 PM
Lou, Illinois had Republican governors for how long? One of which served prison time. I don't recall anytime during their term that they lead change with regards to pension reforms. Of course they wouldn't as they have their pockets open just like any body else. As long as it benefits them why should it change, and that applies to either side. One side takes it all away as the other side gives it all away. This country needs to bring the jobs back home,people need to get off their over weight dead behinds and it's long over due that corporate america pay their fair share of taxes. Time to change the tax codes and get out of bed with corporate america. Time for the Koch brothers and the rest to rely on their own blankies.
Lou B. October 20, 2013 at 02:15 PM
Walt, it's a matter of economic philosophy, not really party labels. Chicago Democrats pretty much run the state. Whether or be a Ryan or Blogo, they are all big government, liberals in their economic policies, beholden to Crook County Dems.
anonymous October 20, 2013 at 02:51 PM
@LouB-$100 a barrel oil may be great for TX but it screws the rest of us.
Spike October 20, 2013 at 03:01 PM
Mr. Hultgren could hold a series highly publicized traditional town hall meetings across the IL 14th to help us understand his thoughts. Can anyone remember the last time he has met face to face in this format? I think if Mr Hultgren were to take question and concerns directly from his constituents from the 14th, I believe he will find the the people of the 14th are very pragmatic and independent minded.
Lou B. October 20, 2013 at 04:49 PM
anonymous... Dems have controlled the Illinois House and Illinois Senate almost exclusively since the 1970's so regardless of the RINOs occupying the governor's seat, policy and budgeting were controlled by Dems.
Lou B. October 20, 2013 at 04:57 PM
anonymous - When Obama assumed the presidency, gas prices were less than 2.00 per gallon. Obama's policy is a roadmap for higher energy prices. In these times of economic distress, most working Americans simply can't afford that. You can thank Texas, which is a low cost oil producer for keeping prices down, and American dollars in American hands.
Spike October 20, 2013 at 05:25 PM
Lou B, the $2.00 gas you mention was a result of the imploded economy in 2008 and the immediate lack of demand of oil. That phenomenon did not last long because PRESIDENT OBAMA AND TO SOME EXTENT GEORGE W BUSH( remember his bailout of banks) took measures to upright the economy and thereby increasing demand for oil. PS ....TEXAS exports a lot of gas and oil products....it is a global economy.
Lou B. October 20, 2013 at 06:51 PM
Well said Spike, I guess that goes to show that correlation and causation are more often than not unrelated but routinely used in the political arena. Simple political tools to influence the low information voter via half truth. Similar, you must admit to the Obama "job creation" claims, so often refrenced by the president.
Matilda B October 20, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Hultgren has done nothing for us and has worked against us. I would love to see who funds him. He has done nothing for jobs or anything else that would benefit the middle class. Time for him to go. The shut down was shameful, as was the threat of the debt ceiling. These actions have been costly to the American people. Enough! I am looking forward to the next election and getting Hultgren replaced with someone who cares about the middle class and our country.
anonymous October 20, 2013 at 08:18 PM
I love how everybody mentions high oil prices and fails to mention the Fed Reserves policy of printing trillions of dollars that is used to drive commodity prices up as all of that money looks to go somewhere.
Colin C. October 20, 2013 at 08:55 PM
It never ceases to amaze how quickly a few predictable people can turn what began as a factual and well reasoned discussion into something that resembles a bunch of five year olds in a sandbox squabbling over who gets to play with the truck.
Fozzie Dabear October 20, 2013 at 09:05 PM
When Fozzie became old enough to vote, we had a Republican president and a Democratic Congress. They didn't like each other that much, but they didn't close the government for weeks on end and send things to the Senate that were obviously D.O.A. Then, in 1993, the Republicans took the house and the president was a Democrat. Oh boy, don' put the shoe on the other foot! So now we have again Republican House and acDemocratic President. Are we seeing the government shut down for weeks on end? Are we seeing the House send D.O.A. bills to the Senate? Many posters to The Patch quite rightly point out that we have large and growing debt problem. But that isn't the real reason for this recent fiasco. Doesn't have a thing to do with it, really.
JT October 20, 2013 at 09:54 PM
It is obvious that Saul Alynski tactics of repeating talking points of no truth appear more and more these days. Such a sad day in America. One fact is, and you cannot spin this one is that our 17 trillion debt of which Obama has put 8 of it in 5 yrs will be enslaving my Grandchildren and yours. For this point alone I will not sit down or shut up any longer. You cannot spend your way out of debt period. Thank You Congressman Hultgren for standing up for our future generations.
Mike October 20, 2013 at 10:15 PM
It's a waste of time to argue in the comment section of the patch. No matter what facts are presented - the banner carrying Obama-nites will never see the truth. Take care of your own house and let the liberals drown in the mess they create.
anonymous October 20, 2013 at 10:21 PM
JT and Mike- finally some common sense. At some point gravity takes over.
Nadia Daley October 22, 2013 at 10:28 PM
To all the TPs who graduated from G.beck University, you need to return your diplomas and ask for a refund. Go get a real history book and learn about the founders and how a bill becomes law. The Affordable Healthcare Act has been a law since 2010 and it was upheld by the Supreme Court. The October 1 phase was to roll out the exchanges and the enrollment process. The next phase will be in 2015 which will deal with companies of 50 employees or more. Outside of the technical issue with regards to the website, ACA is alive and doing exactly what it was meant to do and that is to help more people attain health insurance at a lower cost. It is doing just that because I work with it everyday. One of the biggest positive outcome of ACA is the reduction of premiums. People will spend the savings and that will boost the economy and open up opportunities for entrepreneurs. Small businesses will see an increase in sales over time. It pleases me to see so many positive comments here. It shows that IL14 is indeed turning blue. Next time you are comparing the two parties, remember this, TPs/Republicans want to destroy, hate, go backwards. Progressive Democrats want progress, restore & protect what we have and make it better for the future. We care about clean air and water. We want everyone to have living wage jobs, we want a peaceful world, we value good education for all because that helps our economy. We want women to keep their rights. We want equal rights for the LGBT community. We want immigration reform and not be mean spirited about it. We want Labor to be strong again because they protect our jobs. We want all that and much more. The man who will help us with these Democratic principles and values is Dennis Anderson. He is running against the destructive TP/Republican Hultgren. Blue for IL14 in 2014
Lou B. October 22, 2013 at 11:54 PM
"ACA is alive and doing exactly what it was meant to do and that is to help more people attain health insurance at a lower cost. It is doing just that because I work with it everyday. " What part of Obamacare to you work with Nadia?
Nadia Daley October 23, 2013 at 12:33 AM
I am a Navigator. I guide consumers during the enrollment process. It has taken away the fear of not having health insurance and for some that is a huge deal. If you have nothing good to say, don't say anything at all.
Lou B. October 23, 2013 at 01:02 AM
Don't tell me what to say Nadia, after YOUR rude post. The 300,000 people in Florida and a million others who HAD health insurance and, lost it as a result of Obamacre, might disagree with you. Enjoy your new government, taxpayer funded job, while it lasts. Prohibition was law too, don't forget. How's that 400MM website coming btw.
JT October 27, 2013 at 09:26 AM
Oh Nadia, I feel so sorry for your utopia dreams. Talking points will not help or work. And about the law, I would remind you this was pushed through the night. Remember the comment "We must pass this law in order to find out what's in it, away from the fog and controversy". Really Nancy. This law is about control of the people and literally has nothing to do with actual health care. I guess Nadia, some people like you will be getting a wake up call and it will take you by surprise for when you realize you were just another useful idiot and got thrown under the bus.
Martha Hanna October 27, 2013 at 09:33 AM
Don't forget the "death panels" President Obama will make the call whether you live or die!!!!! y'all should move to Canada where health care is a right.


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