Ill. lawmakers react to nation's credit downgrade

August 8, 2011 2:57:55 PM PDT
A climate of cooperation has replaced political bitterness as lawmakers react to the first-ever downgrading of America's credit rating.

The decision by Standard & Poor, one of the world's three major credit rating agencies, to cut the United States credit rating has rocked both political and global financial circles.

"I hope this will be the wakeup call we need," said U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

Even as S& P says that it has lost its faith in Washington's ability to work together to fix the country's debt problem, President Barack Obama again touted jobs creation.

"My hope is that Friday's news will give us a new sense of urgency," Obama said.

Even though some Republicans see the report supporting their budget cutting policies, Congresswoman Judy Biggert, R-Ill. questioned the downgrade while attending a business entrepreneur's luncheon in west suburban Naperville.

"The one that I would blame is Standard & Poor. I think it's a political ploy by them. They didn't recognize the crisis that we had with the mortgage bank securities. I think they're making up for that," Biggert said.

Congress is on an August recess, but the president could call lawmakers back to address the issues highlighted by the S& P report before staffing the budget "super committee" of six Republicans and six Democrats created by the debt ceiling legislation.

"When we can get this super committee, if you want to call it that, together and get the recommendations taken care of and vote on them, then we can regroup and say, 'What do we need to do next for this country?' whether it's energy, jobs -- especially jobs," said Congressman Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.

The super committee will also be split evenly between the Senate and the House of Representatives. They are charged with finding at least $1.2 trillion in debt reduction cuts that wouldn't hit until January 2013. Leaders must appoint members by August 16 and vote on a budget saving measure by November 23.

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