DOWNTOWN — Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday blamed Republicans for the government shutdown, calling GOP members of Congress who refuse to vote on a budget "unreasonable and irresponsible and reckless."
"I am so happy to be out of that city," Emanuel said of Washington, D.C., where he had served as a congressman and chief of staff in the Obama administration. "I think some people in that city would like to follow suit."
The shutdown went into effect on Tuesday after Congress failed to pass a budget that would fund the government. A vocal group of House Republicans want to delay implementation of the Afforable Care Act, and have refused to pass a budget until President Barack Obama agrees to its terms.
The Illinois National Guard on Tuesday announced that 1,100 federal technicians will be indefinitely furloughed due to the shutdown, and the office of U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) estimated that 52,000 federal employees in Illinois would be out of work until Congress decides to get things moving again.
"Republicans have reduced these innocent bystanders into hostages in a reckless game of political chicken," Rush added in a statement.
Chicago services, however, will remain intact, Emanuel said.
"We're gonna continue to provide our services and do the responsible thing," the mayor said Wednesday. "City services, they're immune."
Emanuel called on House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to "stand up" to a vocal minority in his party.
"It's time for the Republican leaders in Congress to step up, provide leadership and tell a small minority in their party to stop trying to hold the country hostage to their ideology. It's wrong, first of all, but that said, the country should not be put at risk to fulfill what they're trying to do.
"The election was a referendum," he added. "Elections have consequences. The American people have spoken. The president's gotten re-elected. And he has been very reasonable about a way to move forward. They are being unreasonable and irresponsible and reckless."