Md. Lawmakers Take Sides In Debt Debate

WASHINGTON (WJZ) — Maryland lawmakers take sides in the debate on raising the U.S. debt ceiling with the focus on revenue and spending cuts.

Political reporter Pat Warren reports two Baltimore-area congressmen offer their points of view.

The bills are in, the due date is near, money is short and you’re as deep in debt as you can legally get.  You need to raise the debt ceiling in order to stay current but the partner in this household won’t agree unless steps are taken to keep this from recurring.  Do you raise revenue?  Do you cut spending?  Or both in combination?  And where, how much and on who?  Team Maryland in the U.S. House of Representatives lines up along party lines.

“Let’s get some revenue in there because we need that,” said Congressman Elijah Cummings.

“We need to control spending,” said Congressman Andy Harris.

“The Republicans are saying cut, cut, cut but they don’t want to deal with any kind of revenues,” Cummings said.

“Oh, no, I wouldn’t vote for a tax increase.  We need spending controls right now,” Harris said.

Cummings thinks the Republicans are guilty of gamesmanship.

“I think this is also about the next election.  I think they are trying to make sure that this president has a hard way to go,” Cummings said.

Harris thinks Democrats are using scare tactics.

“It absolutely is and look, I hope the American people look past that,” Harris said.

And how will it end?

“We have plenty of income coming in to pay for Social Security, Medicare, our veterans and our interest on our debt.  We will not default after Aug. 2,” Harris said.

“I would say, `Stay tuned.’  I know that may not give people a lot of comfort but I believe in my heart this will be resolved,” Cummings said.

With less than three weeks left to the deadline, both sides are scrambling for backup plans.

Moody’s Investors’ Service is threatening to lower the U.S. credit rating, citing a rising risk that the government will default on its debt.

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