There are just six days until the U.S. risks defaulting on its debt and Congress is still locked in a stalemate over whether to raise the debt ceiling and cut spending.
APRN’s Libby Casey checked in with Alaska’s representative in the U.S. House to gauge whether he thinks there will be a deal.
Congressman Don Young isn’t in love with House Speaker John Boehner’s plan to cut spending and avoid default, but he still intends to vote for it.
“No I’m not particularly happy with it, but like I say, it’s sort of like taking your girlfriend out and not getting a kiss but only a hug. It’s better than nothing. And we’re liable to get nothing.”
“Getting nothing” would lead to default. That’s a scenario financial experts – and Alaska’s Senators – have warned could be catastrophic. Now, Speaker Boehner is still tweaking his plan – it turns out it wouldn’t cut as much from the budget as he initially claimed. And even though Young will vote for it, Tea Party members are bucking it, and the leader of Senate Democrats Harry Reid says it will not pass in the Senate. Young says fine – let the let the Senate take the blame.
Young: So around and around we go. So the only plan we’ve got is what’s before us now. And if we get the 218 votes we’ll vote on it.
Casey: But it looks dead on arrival in the Senate.
Young: Not necessarily. What if we do it and then adjourn.
Casey: Then the country could default on its debt.
Young: If the Senate doesn’t act. And if the President doesn’t sign the bill then it’s up to the President.
Casey: But if they’ve already told you they’re not going to do it…
Young: That’s fine, we’ve done what we said we were going to do, we have acted responsibly. And then let the Senate doesn’t want to pass, they’ll take responsibility for it.
Casey: With all due respect, and I think a lot of Americans feel this way, if you guys act, and then say it’s the Senate’s responsibility, Senate’s fault, it kind of kicks it into somebody else’s court, it assigns blame, but if doesn’t come up with a solution.”
Young: If they don’t pass it, but they will pass it. Believe me, we’ve done this before and they will pass it. Otherwise, fine, we’ll go into default.
Don Young has skipped some of the Republican meetings about the debt ceiling legislation, and last week was in Alaska for a long-planned charity fishing trip instead of hunkered down in the pressure cooker of Washington. He hopes the nation doesn’t default on the debt, but he also says no one in the Republican conference is really listening to his ideas of how to avoid it.
Young: I don’t want it, I’ve always said that. But I’m not in the conference. If I was in it we’d have settled this a long time ago.
Casey: Why haven’t you been involved in it, then?
Young: Nobody’s been involved in it. Nobody’s involved in it, that’s one of the frustrations the freshmen have and a lot of members of the Conference because there are only four negotiators.
Even though Young says the Boehner plan in the only game in town, Senator Reid, leader of the Democrats, has crafted his own bill. Young is dismissive of it.
It’s possible the Republican Boehner plan and the Reid Democratic plan could merge in the coming day, but there’s no guarantee. And if everyone says it’s “my way or the highway,” the stalemate will continue, and the nation will run out of money to pay its bills.