This week, 4,500 civilian workers at nearby Scott Air Force Base will receive furlough notices -- a troubling reminder for Davis, who won his seat last fall by just 1,002 votes.
Enyart's no better off: He pledged to protect Scott during his 2012 campaign, but at last weekend's St. Patrick's Day parade in his hometown of Belleville, several people shouted, "Stop the sequester!" as he walked by tossing green beads to children.
"Certainly, in my district, we're in crisis stage," Enyart told POLITICO after marching in the parade.
This tale of two districts is a reminder for some in Washington who still think about sequester as an abstract political fight. On the ground, the cuts are real -- and so are the political consequences.
Davis, who holds a part of Abraham Lincoln's old district and the state capital of Springfield -- is considered one of the best pickup opportunities in 2014 for Democrats. After all, he had the narrowest margin of victory last cycle for any successful Republican.
To Democrats, the thinking is that Davis's constituents in rural Illinois and the college towns of Champaign, Normal and Springfield will be so upset with Republican leadership over the spending cuts that they will send him packing next November.
The two congressmen said during interviews Saturday back in their home state that they're on the case since they're willing to work across the aisle to cut a deal. But that spirit of bipartisanship hasn't stopped their national parties from launching attack ads that pin the blame for sequester on the other guy.
For Republicans, their strategy is to go directly after Enyart, a former leader of the Illinois National Guard who anchored his 2012 campaign around the message that he could protect the region's largest employer, Scott Air Force Base.
"He came in saying he had instant credibility," said Jon McLean, the GOP chairman for St. Clair County. "I think he's got a lot riding on it. He's put himself out there."
Both lawmakers noted in interviews that they weren't even in office when President Barack Obama and Congress agreed to tuck sequestration into the 2011 law as the last-ditch consequence if dysfunction reigned in Washington.
But they also know they're the ones who must deal with the effects of the sequester, as critical funding starts drying up in a region full of federal fingerprints, from the Air Force base to dozens of large and small colleges, six airports, meat processing plants and social services used by poor and elderly people.
"Do I get at least as much time to blame everybody else as [Obama] got to blame Bush?" Davis told POLITICO before speaking to Republican boosters who gathered at an Italian restaurant just off the interstate in Greenville, Ill.
Davis, whose district lays just to the north, blasted party leaders on both sides of the aisle for the spending cuts, calling it "laziness" that neither side would turn sequestration off, or at least give the Obama administration greater authority to shift money around among different accounts if the budget cuts did take effect.
As the cuts kick in, Rodney said he's worried that nearly 20 universities and community colleges in his district will have fewer federal grants. He also frets over four regional airports threatened with the loss of air-traffic control towers, including the East St. Louis facility that's the third busiest in Illinois after Chicago O'Hare and Midway and a hub in Bloomington used by employees from State Farm's corporate headquarters.
"I'd say that at this point, it's not overwhelming," Davis said. "Don't get me wrong, I still think it's adversely affecting our families. It's adversely affecting people that through no fault of their own are having to feel the impact of Republicans and Democrats not being able to work together in Washington."
Davis, whose website features a picture of him with Obama on the House floor after February's State of the Union address, is also quick to note that Democrats are gunning for him.
"You're looking right now at the No. 1 target in the nation for Barack Obama, Dick Durbin and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi," he told the Republicans who paid $25 each to attend a Lincoln Day dinner buffet of fried chicken, pork loin and mashed potatoes.
For Enyart, the first weeks of his House career have also been all about sequestration, as he fields emails and calls from anxious constituents like Neal Covington, the owner of an aerospace navigation company in Columbia, Ill., who plans to lay off about a fourth of his 43-person staff as soon as next week if the Air Force cancels a contract.
"If this continues and the renewals and funding don't get continued, I'm in a position where that could end us pretty quickly," Covington said in an interview.
Enyart also said he had a meeting last week in Washington with a top Army official who warned that valuable contracts were in jeopardy because of sequestration.
"How many other Neal Covingtons are there in our country or in our district? I don't have that number, but obviously the ripple effects through the economy are tremendous," Enyart said.
The Democrat pointed to two neighbors who work at the Air Force base who will take a $9,000 pay cut through the end of September once the furloughs start. "Is that son of his going to be able to stay in community college here in Belleville?" he said. "Clearly, they're not going to be buying a new car. And when they don't buy that new car, guess what, the salesman doesn't get a commission."
Pentagon spending cuts also have Enyart worried about the readiness of the pilots at Scott Air Force Base, including the National Guard wing responsible for refueling planes. They've already seen their flight training hours cut from 200 hours per month to 18.
"You can't keep your crews qualified," Enyart said. "You can't fly the planes. In 30 days, those crews are going to start becoming unqualified because you have to do so many takeoffs and so many landings in order to keep current."
Across the two members' districts, anxiety over the sequester is palpable.
Scott Air Force Base's commander, Col. David Almand, said 100 to 300 civilian employees attended his daily town hall meetings earlier this month on the budget cuts, plus more who tuned in to watch via webcast.
"Dealing with the cuts is stressful," he said. "More significant is the uncertainty of what follows. Is more coming next year?"
Davis and Enyart also have six of the state's nine threatened airports in their districts. While Federal Aviation Administration officials still haven't provided details on what will happen to the control towers, business leaders and locals are stewing over what it would mean to lose critical hubs in far-flung parts of the state.
"You're talking about a one-day trip turning into two or three just because you've got to get into a car," said Todd Maisch, executive vice president of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. "Amtrak doesn't go to a lot of these towns."
Agriculture Department officials say they're still planning furloughs for meat inspectors this summer, including nearly 100 who work at processing plants throughout Illinois.
But Adam Nielsen, the national legislative director at the Illinois Farm Bureau, said his ears really perked up during a recent lobbying visit to Washington when a senior USDA official said crop insurance could be in jeopardy if sequestration extends into a second year.
"Planes falling out of the air and meat going uninspected, that's one thing," he said. "But crop insurance being cut as part of the sequestration is quite another."
With sequestration still in its early stages, deciphering the political fallout of the spending cuts remains unclear. "I think that there's a little bit of Midwestern skepticism of 'Let's see it,'" said Paul Evans, a lawyer from O'Fallon, Ill., and a former Republican state representative.
Nine-term GOP Rep. John Shimkus, who once employed Davis as his campaign manager and district-based projects director, said last month that he's more concerned about making a dent in the deficit than any political backlash tied to something like furloughs at Scott Air Force Base.
"It's a cut across the board for everybody," Shimkus said. "We have a $16 trillion national debt. We spend over $1 trillion more than we take in every year. We have to cut spending. So now we're going to have to find out the price."
But with so many jobs on the line, Enyart said the costs of cutting is too high. "That was not a responsible opinion to make, in my opinion," he said of Shimkus.
And even Davis said his former boss's stance doesn't bode well for making progress on the sequester showdown.
"You have members of both parties saying if this is the only way to get the administration or get one side to cut spending, then so be it," he said. "That just tells me how far they've gone in making sure that we don't work toward common-sense solutions."
The Gazette now offers Facebook Comments on its stories. You must be logged into your Facebook account to add comments. If you do not want your comment to post to your personal page, uncheck the box below the comment. Comments deemed offensive by the moderators will be removed, and commenters who persist may be banned from commenting on the site.