Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2014, 5:29 pm

Schilling says both GOP, Dems out of touch

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By Eric Timmons, etimmons@qconline.com

Bobby Schilling says Republicans in Congress have joined Democrats in being "completely out of touch with reality."

The former GOP Congressman who is running against Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, in this year's 17th District election, is angry that Congress passed a "clean" increase in the federal debt ceiling with the support of Republican leaders.

In recent years, votes on the debt ceiling have created a showdown between Republicans and Democrats that has threatened to push the federal government into defaulting on its debt.

Republicans have insisted that they'll only support an increase in the federal debt limit if its tied to cutbacks in spending.

But this week Republican House Speaker John Boehner allowed a vote on a "clean" debt ceiling increase. The House passed the bill by 221 to 201 votes with the support of only 28 Republicans.

"I'm very disappointed in Republican leadership, and to be quite forward, pretty upset," Mr. Schilling said. "Have we given up on paying down our $17 trillion debt? Is this 'game over?' There's no excuse for this absolute lack of leadership from the party that's supposed to stand for fiscal sanity."

He added, "It now appears that both parties in Washington are completely out of touch with reality."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell followed Speaker Boehner's lead by also supporting a clean debt-ceiling increase, which passed the Senate by 55-43 margin.

Sen. McConnell joined Democrats and some Republicans to vote down a filibuster attempt by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. But after the procedural vote, Sen. McConnell voted against the debt ceiling bill, with its approval guaranteed because Democrats hold the majority in the Senate.

The votes in the House and Senate were viewed as a victory for President Barack Obama and the Democrats and a blow to tea party-aligned Republicans.

Rep. Bustos, voted in favor of increasing the debt ceiling and said not doing so would have resulted in job losses and threatened the economic recovery.

"Jeopardizing the full faith and credit of the United States and, in turn our economy, would be as irresponsible as opting to take a dive off the fiscal cliff," she said in a statement. "Working families across our region have to pay their bills on time and so should our nation."