Demonstrators gathered in front of a Minneapolis Social Security Administration office Wednesday to speak out against the federal government shutdown.
About a dozen volunteers with Organizing for Action, a group that supports President Barack Obama, stood on the sidewalk outside the agency holding signs urging legislators to reopen the government.
Guards inside the building turned visitors away, telling them many services were unavailable due to the shutdown.
Veteran Kevin Johnson says the VA hospital where he gets cancer treatment is still open, yet he fears services will become restricted if the shutdown lasts much longer.
"I'm afraid that the idiots — and I call them the idiots — in Washington, who can't even sit down and negotiate a simple keeping open of the government they are supposed to serve are now in the process of deciding what is essential and what is not," Johnson said. "I don't trust these people to decide whether or not my treatment for cancer is essential."
Johnson and others in the pro-Obama group blame House Republicans for the shutdown.
Republican Chris Fields, who stopped by to check out the demonstration, disagreed. Fields, who last year unsuccessfully challenged DFL Rep. Keith Ellison's reelection to Congress, said responsibility for the shutdown lies with the White House.
"I think it's largely on President Obama. And it's not because I'm a Republican and he's a Democrat," he said. "It's simply because people look to their president to lead."
Fields, a retired Marine, also said he's relieved he received a retirement check as expected last week.