With the deadline to avoid a government shutdown looming, federal employees protested at Chicago's Federal Plaza Wednesday, urging Congress to "act like responsible adults" and keep the government operating.
Representatives from the American Federation of Government Employees' (AFGE) Chicago-area locals said a government shutdown would negatively impact the economy and public services.
"Assistance to local communities for public housing, day care and afterschool programs, meals for the elderly and programs that create and retain jobs could be out the window because of Congress' inability to act like responsible adults," said Ken Brucks, president of AFGE Local 911, which represents Chicago employees in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. "This shutdown is not in the best interest of the American public."
To avoid a shutdown, Congress must approve a spending bill to keep the government running by midnight tonight.
Earlier Wednesday, the U.S. Senate passed a stopgap measure that would temporarily fund the federal government through December 11. The bill does not include a provision backed by some conservative lawmakers to defund Planned Parenthood.
The House still needs to approval the stopgap spending bill.
At today's rally, the federal workers stressed that a government shutdown is not in the best economic interest of the country.
"The government shutdown will set our economy back. The shutdown of 2013 cost American taxpayers $24 billion," said Dorothy James, national vice president for AFGE District 7, which represents federal employees in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. "This recovery took months and negatively impacted the State of Illinois, our municipalities, tribal authorities and local communities."