US debt crisis looms

By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer

Both Republicans and Democrats claim to be willing to compromise, but once they’re behind closed doors, they don’t seem to be willing to talk.

It’s been 16 days now since the government shut down over disagreements in Congress between Republicans and Democrats. The issues of funding the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and raising the debt ceiling (to let the US keep borrowing money) are splitting both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Republicans don’t want to fund Obamacare or raise the debt ceiling, while Democrats are in favor of both. This Thursday, if Congress doesn’t make any progress, the country will go over the debt cliff and cause economic (money-related) damage internationally.

While there are many reasonable members of both parties trying to compromise, the more extreme individuals are bringing the country to its knees with their stubbornness and insulting behavior. Over 800,000 government employees are out of work until it’s all resolved, and both sides just keep blaming each other rather than working together.

In recent days, the Senate has at least been trying to do its job with bipartisanship (“bi” meaning both, and “partisan” meaning supporters of a party). Negotiations restarted between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of the Democrats and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of the Republicans on Tuesday night, as they tried to create legislation (laws) that would not only open the government, but also raise the debt ceiling. Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Reid, said, “Sen. Reid and Sen. McConnell… are optimistic that an agreement is within reach.” Around 10pm on Tuesday, the Senate announced they wouldn’t be meeting again until Wednesday at noon, but Reid seemed hopeful, stating, “We’re in good shape.”

On the other side of the fence, House Speaker John Boehner has been having difficulties in the House of Representatives, where attitudes are anything but bipartisan! Republicans want more spending cuts, and Texas Republican Representative Joe Barton explained, “There’s no… reform. There’s no cost savings. It’s just kick the can down the road another six weeks or two months.”

President Barack Obama blames the extreme members of the Republican party, explaining, “(Boehner) negotiating with me isn’t necessarily good for the extreme faction in his [party]. It weakens him, so there have been repeated situations where we have agreements. Then he goes back, and it turns out that he can’t control his [party].”

Featured image courtesy of The White House on Flickr. Image of Republican Conference on Flickr.