Constituents reaching out to lawmakers on debt ceiling issue - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Constituents reaching out to lawmakers on debt ceiling issue

WASHINGTON DC (WQOW) - As the deadline for the U.S. to default nears, lawmakers are hearing from their constituents. 

On Monday, President Obama encouraged Americans to get in touch with members of congress.  Since then, politicians who represent western Wisconsin have received hundreds of phone calls and emails.  Congressman Ron Kind's web site crashed late Monday night because of the heavy traffic. 

Neither Congressmen Kind nor Duffy want the U.S. to default on it's loans. 

"If it comes to that, it would be the greatest, unforced error in our country's history and it would be devastating for the economic recovery," says Rep. Ron Kind, (D) 3rd Congressional District. 

"We have to get a deal, I don't want to see a default," says Rep. Sean Duffy, (R) 7th Congressional District. 

Kind says President Obama has laid out a reasonable proposal to raise the debt ceiling and reduce debt. 

"He was willing to take $3 worth of cuts to vital programs that many families rely upon for $1 of additional revenue, that was the grand bargain he was trying to reach," says Kind. 

Duffy disagrees, saying the president has only commented on what he wants to see, but hasn't actually brought anything to the table.  Duffy says house republicans have. 

"The CBO is still scoring the proposal, but it's around $1 trillion in cuts, we'll have just short of $1 trillion dollar debt ceiling increase, we have spending caps that are in place and then we have a guarantee from the Senate they will take up a balanced budget amendment," says Duffy. 

The past few days both lawmakers have had an increase in phone calls and emails.  With most people showing a willingness for compromise. 

"I've noticed in traveling through western Wisconsin that people are tuning in and they are demanding that their elective representatives stop the non-sense, stop the politics, start talking and listening to each other and find common ground, which means having to compromise," says Kind. 

Duffy says comments and calls he's getting are split three ways; raise the debt ceiling, don't raise the debt ceiling and raise the debt ceiling, but make cuts. 

"I think the ones that say raise it, but cut are the ones in the middle and that's where I'm at, I'm saying we're going to raise and we're going to reduce the size of government as we do it and we're going to put ourselves on a trajectory that's going to be sustainable bringing the cost of doing business down," says Duffy. 

Wisconsin's two state senators have also seen an increase phone calls and emails.  A spokesperson for Senator Ron Johnson says his office has taken three to four times more phone calls, with half of callers supporting President Obama, one-quarter supporting Johnson and Republicans and the rest pro-compromise.  Senator Herb Kohl's office says it took more than 700 calls on Tuesday regarding the debt ceiling issue. 

A vote is expected Thursday on the House plan, which is drawing criticism from Democrats and from the right.  Tea Party activists are urging Speaker John Boehner to reject any deal that doesn't include steep spending cuts even if the U.S. defaults.  One Tea Party group is even calling on Boehner to step down.

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