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Apprehension Abounds in Brooklyn Over Nation's Financial Future

After the House passed Speaker John Boehner's plan, the Senate promptly blocked it.

Brooklynites worried about the nation’s in-limbo financial state after Friday evening’s congressional sessions sent Republicans and Democrats back to the drawing board for a compromise on the country’s debt ceiling plan.

Early Friday evening, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed Speaker John Boehner's plan to raise the national debt ceiling and cut spending by a narrow 218-210, only to have the plan predictably smacked down by the Democrat-controlled Senate in a 59-41 to put the measure on hold.

"I can't believe congress is seriously considering defaulting," said Brooklyn Heights resident Adam Lynn. "I think it's pathetic and I can't believe it's even a debate. Even the senate plan is something that I as a liberal would never support."

Others uged the government to hurry up and work out a compromise plan soon.

"I think that they totally need to raise the debt ceiling," said Lara Kinner, 31, a social science researcher who lives in Crown Heights. "We have a major jobs crisis and you need to be spending more money not less money on things that will create jobs like improving the infrastructure."

President Barack Obama has urged both sides to reach a compromise before Monday evening, at which point the government would default on the country’s $14.3 trillion debt. Obama has continuously stated that Boehner’s plan, which would require both a balanced budget amendment and the a second debt ceiling vote before the next election, has "has no chance of becoming law.”

The plan, though, will remain the Republican negotiating standpoint in debt talks leading up to Monday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, has for his part pushed his own plan to raise the debt limit.

If the government does fail to reach a compromise by Monday evening, the resulting government default could cause unprecedented national financial problems, from rising interest rates and a tanking stock market to a decline in the value of the dollar. The country would be unable to meet about 40 percent of its debt obligations if a default does occur.

So far, both Democratic and Republican leaders have agreed that any deal should include spending reductions in the long term, but neither side can agree on the specifics or timing of spending reductions.

“Republicans are hell bent on bringing down our country just to destroy one man. This is extremist politics at its worst,” said Councilmember Letitia James, D-Prospect Heights. “As the clock ticks, now is the time for reason, rational thought and reality to set in. Politics is about the art of compromise.”

A default would also likely impact federal payments to local governments, which local politicians have said would likely impact the city budget, potentially even forcing mid-year cuts to the current budget, which was passed last month. Already, the city faced many difficult decisions in passing this year’s budget, narrowly escaping the necessity to shut down 20 firehouses citywide and lay off hundreds of teachers.

"It is unfortunate that the division along party lines has prevented members of Congress from working diligently and responsibly with President Obama to find a long-term solution to tackle America's debt,” said 57th District Leader Olanike Alabi.

“While federal entitlement programs have been identified as the problem, we have not sought to have corporations and millionaires pay their fair share in taxes," Alabi said. "My hope is that Americans, from New York to California and from Michigan to Texas will continue to jam the phone lines of their Congressional representatives until negotiations yield a favorable solution."

Amy Sara Clark and Georgia Kral contributed reporting.

Parksloper July 30, 2011 at 07:58 PM
Somewhere a village is missing their idiot(s). Waaah, racism. Leticia James and Olanike Alabi are useless idiots. This President has tripled the debt, has already has the debt ceiling raised THREE TIMES and was against raising the limit when he was Senator. "In March 2006, then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., found the notion of raising the debt ceiling quite distasteful. “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure,” he said. “It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit."
Parksloper July 30, 2011 at 08:01 PM
KKK get real. Look up your history of who the real racists are dear, that would be democrats. "The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows that 23% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty-four percent (44%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -21 (see trends). Strong Disapproval of the president is now at the highest level since November 9, 2010. Additionally, 50% give the president poor marks for his handling of the economy. "
Parksloper July 30, 2011 at 08:02 PM
No, you have it wrong. Only white people can be racists. /sarcasm
tim maguire July 31, 2011 at 05:32 PM
I don't see what all the hand wringing is about. First, of course they won't default, that's not even on the table. Hitting the debt ceiling doesn't mean default. Next, this is what is supposed to happen each time we hit the ceiling. If raising the debt ceiling was automatic each time we hit it, then what would be the point of having one at all? It exists to force us to take a serious look at spending every now and then, which we're doing, as intended. President Obama understands this, that's why he voted against raising the limit when he was in the Senate and a Republican was in the White House.
Mark Essman July 31, 2011 at 11:30 PM
Why doesnt anyone ever mention the billions of dollars we wasted AND are still wasting on the military??? Why are there American soldiers STILL in Iraq???? Still looking for those WMDs??? And Afghanistan??? Only reason we have soldiers there is so big corporations(IE:Halliburton) can secure massive contracts there!!

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