Minn. Delegation Getting An Earful From Constituents

WASHINGTON (WCCO) — The tortured debate in Washington, D.C. continues as lawmakers are no closer to making a deal to solve the federal debt crisis.

Republicans continue to face a revolt within the ranks as House Speaker John Boehner urged his party to back his plan. Tea Party members, notably U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, continue to say “no” to the Boehner’s proposal.

But some conservative lawmakers appear to be getting behind the Boehner plan that is expected to be introduced on the House floor on Thursday.

Minnesota lawmakers continue to get an earful from constituents but the message they are getting is just as divided as the debate.

Minnesota congressional offices are swamped with phone calls and Minnesota’s congressional delegation reflects the deep divide.

U.S. Sen. Al Franken said that a default by one analysis could mean no payments to active-duty military and to border crossing agents.

Speaking on the Senate floor, Franken used a prop saying “welcome terrorists” as an indication of the kind of chaos that would result. Franken also warned of financial disaster in the event of a default.

“You’re going to see our U.S. Treasury’s credit rating downgraded and Minnesotans will then have to pay higher interest rates on mortgages and on credit cards and car loans and student loans,” he said.

But holding firm against a debt ceiling increase of any kind is what the Tea Party, led by Bachmann, wants.

“People have been saying to me, overwhelming, ‘Mr. President, do not raise the debt ceiling,'” she said.

Republican U.S. Congressman Erik Paulsen asked for feedback on his Facebook page and he’s received comments urging him both to support and oppose a debt ceiling increase. Despite the threats, political analysts say the two sides are not closer to a deal.

“Somehow though that threat of dire consequences still doesn’t seem to be enough, at this point, to push legislatures into some type of an agreement,” said Hamline University Professor David Schultz. “Not just Democrat and Republican but the evidence is suggesting at this point that even within the Republican Party there seem to be enormous battles.”

The continued impasse is being blamed for the sharp drop in the stock market today. The Dow was down nearly 200 points and the S&P 500 Index was down nearly 2 percent. Analysts are predicting continued drops as long as the two sides are unable to reach a deal.

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