Residents stand in rain to protest shutdown outside Rep. Meehan's office

SPRINGFIELD — Eighteen county residents stood in the pouring rain Friday to urge State Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-7, to vote for a clean continuing resolution to end the government shutdown and to vote to raise the debt ceiling and avoid pushing the country into a recession.

The rally, organized by Progressive Change Campaign Committee, drew the small, but vocal crowd who gathered at about noon outside of Meehan’s district office in Springfield.

“I’m here to register my displeasure with Congressman Pat Meehan for voting to burn down the government, burn down the country because he didn’t get his way on Obamacare,” said Matthew Gordon of Skippback. “Obamacare is the law and it’s time to make it work. It does work. Instead of shoving his anti-Obamacare views down our throats.”

Several others at the gathering reiterated Gordon’s sentiments about Meehan’s stance on the Affordable Care Act. 

Meehan recently blasted the Democratically-controlled Senate and Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, for refusing to negotiate a compromise that would involve delaying Obamacare, which Meehan said would raise costs, bring about higher taxes and reduced access to quality care

The congressman, who was in Washington, issued a statement through his spokesman John Elizandro.

“Representative Meehan is leading the effort with Democrats and Republicans to reopen the government and address our out-of-control spending,” Elizandro said in the written statement. “He believes a default on our debt would be devastating for our economy, and we shouldn’t allow that to happen.”

“Congress and the President must work together to ensure that we honor our debts and make other priority payments like Social Security and troop pay. Fundamentally, we need to get at the spending that is driving our debt and threatening to bankrupt critical programs like Medicare,” the statement reads.

Democrat Bill Clinton, an Upper Providence resident running for Delaware County Council, addressed the rally on Friday, noting the government has been shut down for 11 days because of the standoff in Washington.

“We are here because our food inspectors are furloughed, because our Head Start programs are shuttered, and because our veteran’s services have been threatened,” he said. “We are here because each of you have decided that Democracy is too important to be held hostage by 16 men in Washington.”

He called on Meehan to vote for a continuing resolution without cuts to Social Security, Medicare and other essential services.

“The people of Delaware County cannot afford to keep investing in this inconsistent leadership,” he said. “Please have the courage to take the vote that will reopen the federal government and keep the residents of Delaware County safe.”

County Republicans did not attend the rally. Pete Peterson, spokesman for the Delaware County Republican Party, issued a statement on behalf of the party and County Council Candidates Mario Civera and Dave White. 

“By allying himself with, Clinton wants to bring the same petty bickering to Delaware County that he is saying is the problem in Harrisburg and Washington,” Peterson said in the written statement. Peterson was referring to a press release that mentioned that members of MoveOn.Org would be attending the rally. “Mario Civera and Dave White are solely focused on creating jobs and keeping Delaware County government running efficiently and effectively, without the petty partisanship that their opponents are engaging in right now.” 

Before the rally began, township police asked the gathering to move from the front door of the office building to the sidewalk, noting they were standing on private property. Police Chief Joseph Daly said the building’s owner had asked police to make sure the group did not block the doorways or the parking lot. Daly told them they were free to gather on the sidewalk in front of the building, which is public property, but if their cars were in the parking lot they’d be towed. Several people grumbled at the order, but the small crowd moved onto the sidewalk without incident.