BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The nation is now only three days away from a deadline to raise the debt ceiling. Congress is in the middle of a rare weekend session to try and strike a compromise and avoid a government default. Local lawmakers are front and center in the Washington debt battle.
Weijia Jiang has reaction from a Maryland leader.
As each moment brings the country closer to the 11th hour of the debt deadline, Marylanders are sounding off.
“We’re supposed to be the power that has it together, and it’s so depressing we can’t pay our own debt. Our government has to shut down? So I’m worried,” said Danielle Citron, of Baltimore.
“It’s not helping any of us, and I think we should be descending on them in Washington right now,” said one Maryland woman.
That includes local lawmakers who only seem to agree on one thing—hashing out a deal is the only option.
But the burning question is how.
Many Democrats say budget cuts alone won’t do it.
Many Republicans don’t want to raise taxes on the wealthy.
“We just turned down Senator Reid’s bill today because it was smoke in mirrors. America is tired of budget tricks, accounting gimmicks. They want permanent accountability,” said Andy Harris, (R).
“Basically what they’ve said is ‘No, we just want to cut, cut, cut,’” said Rep. Elijah Cummings, (D). “And for a state like Maryland it would affect us tremendously—everything from police officers to teachers to food inspections” to the 1.6 million Marylanders on Medicare and Medicaid and 850,000 on Social Security.
And then there are the thousands of Marylanders who are federal workers.
“This hard line they’re taking is a waste for the country. We’re suffering, not them,” said Charles Nieberding, of Baltimore.
Several taxpayers say the real problem is politics.
“They need to be re-elected, and they’re beholden to the subset of their political party which is crazy,” said Andrew Wolfe, of Baltimore.
They hope priorities prevail before it’s too late.
Cummings points to the stock market taking a severe tumble over the weekend as a sign of the trouble to come if a deal is not hashed out soon.
On Friday night the House passed Republican Speaker John Boehner’s plan to trim $917 billion from the budget, but the Senate quickly tabled the bill. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid says that plan may still be used as a framework in a compromise deal.