Debt Deadline Looms, CO Citizens say "Get Deal Done"

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - As the debt ceiling showdown continues in Washington, Americans are growing frustrated with lawmakers in Congress. In Colorado, voters are jamming the phone lines at local Congressional offices, urging their leaders to get a deal done.

It's been a busy week for Congressman Scott Tipton's staff. His Grand Junction office says on Tuesday alone, it received more than 150 calls -- an amount significantly higher than normal -- and as of Wednesday, still hadn't finished going through all the voice messages.

Between his Washington and Denver offices, Senator Mark Udall's staffers say they received more than 1,700 calls Tuesday -- up from just 300 on Monday.

Senator Michael Bennet's staff says hundreds of calls have been pouring in to their office this week as well.

Though constituent opinions on how the debt ceiling issue should be resolved are all over the board, there is one thing they all seem to be saying.

"They just need to get it straight and take care of the people," said Joanie Lash.

"They need to settle down, be gentlemen and ladies, and listen to the people," said Marvin Wells.

Lawmakers in Washington say they're hearing the message -- but whether they put it into action has yet to be seen.

"In the end they expect us to come together and find some common ground," said Udall, (D) Colorado.

Senator Udall says he wants to see a more balanced approach than either of the two plans making their way through the Capitol are offering. But with just six days to go before the deadline, he says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's plan is the best option.

"As a fallback his plan makes sense," said Udall. "It has significant cuts in the order of 2.7 trillion dollars. It involves one vote between now and the end of 2012. And the ratings agencies have made the case that the Reid plan would not result in a downgrade of our credit rating. That's crucial."

Congressman Tipton says the defeated "Cut, Cap, and Balance" plan was the best option to reel in government spending, raise the debt ceiling, and pave the way for a federal balanced budget amendment to be introduced. He says wants to read over House Speaker John Boehner's revamped plan before he will support it.

"It certainly is not perfect, it's not my first choice," said Tipton, (R) Colorado. "I cast my vote positively for my first choice, but now we're dealing with the reality of what we're facing. Once this reworking of the plan comes out, we'll take a look at it. If it incorporates those elements, I'd be inclined to look favorably at it."

Though it's unclear if either plan has the votes to pass both chambers of Congress, both Udall and Tipton say they believe something will ultimately pass before the August 2 deadline.

"I can't imagine we would let the country default," said Udall.

A spokesperson for Bennet says he believes the Reid plan is the "most reasonable way to move forward" given the time constraints, although he prefers other proposals that have been presented.

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