About 40 Missourians submitted petitions to U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer's local office Tuesday afternoon, asking him to "cease and desist" his support for the federal government shutdown and U.S. House Republicans' ongoing efforts to block the federal health care law than many call "Obamacare."
"We are gathered here today ... to tell (Republicans) to stop their extreme politics from destroying the American dream," Alison Dreith of Missouri ProVote told the crowd outside Luetkemeyer's office. "We demand that ... Luetkemeyer immediately stop derailing the government, wrecking the economy and destroying the livelihood of Missouri's working families.
"Instead, we demand that Rep. Luetkemeyer invest in an America that works for working families, by investing in good jobs and protecting vital services like health care, education and food assistance."
Missouri ProVote describes itself as a "statewide coalition of labor unions and community groups that work to promote progressive policies through electoral engagement."
David Meinell, president of the Missouri Alliance for Retired Americans, told the crowd: "We are for a "clean' bill to open our government and raise the debt ceiling. We do not believe that what is going on in Washington, D.C., is conducive to good citizens' representation - they're holding all of us hostage to their dirty politics."
Robin Acree of the group Grass Roots Organizing said it's time for Luetkemeyer "to do his job and stop creating crises, and do what we sent him to Washington to do, which is to solve our problems - not create more problems."
Luetkemeyer was in Washington and not available for comment Tuesday.
But he has said in the past that the United States must reduce its spending or face major financial problems.
"We believe our tax rates are high enough," he told reporters last month. "If we can get some of our policies in place, which are less taxing and less spending, I think we can improve the situation."
"Our economy has suffered more under his guidance and his antics," she said. "I don't understand why we are having to take the brunt of these actions in Washington.
"Who shuts down the government, to prove a political point? ... Who uses our government as a game? They should be ashamed!"
Luetkemeyer has said the growth in government spending can't be sustained.
Acree said if Congress would "make the tax-dodging corporations pay their fair share" of taxes, the government could be fully funded.
Ken Menges of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Union said members of Congress are showing children how bullying works, and are not working to improve the middle class.
"It's time for the government to get back to work and start creating new, good jobs for people, so we can all have a good life," he said.
Mickey Belosi, a board member of the National Organization for Women-Missouri, said "extreme Republicans across the country" are waging a "war on women and our families" by cutting budgets, including the federal proposal to cut $40 billion from SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - what used to be known as food stamps - "which helps millions of moms and children that would otherwise go hungry on a daily basis."
She accused the GOP of shutting down the federal government "over access to health care and coverage."