Ill. lawmakers sound off on debt crisis

July 30, 2011 (CHICAGO)

That framework for a deal reportedly includes about $1 trillion in spending cuts with additional savings laid out for the near future. On Saturday, congressional Republicans and the White House appeared confident that a compromise will be reached.

It is just three days before the U.S. Treasury says it will be unable to pay all the country's bills.

Throughout Saturday, however, Democrat and Republican lawmakers, including several from Illinois, expressed their concern and frustration over the national debt crisis.

"In battle, when you accidentally shoot your own, it's called friendly fire. When you deliberately shoot your own, it's called fragging. Republicans, stop fragging the American economy and the American people," said U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Chicago and North Suburbs.

"My constituents want an end to this crisis, an end to the uncertainly, and an end to the cycle of debt that is draining our economy," said Republican U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert of southwest suburban Willowbrook in a statement.

On Saturday, Democrats in the Senate accused Republicans of using a filibuster to require a 60-vote super majority to pass a proposal by Reid. The Democrats don't appear to have the votes.

"The American people are running out of patience if they haven't already run out of it, and we're running out of excuses. We have a limited amount of time left here to avert a crisis that will affect a lot of innocent people across America," said U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

Republican Senators, in turn, accused Democrats of trying to force their hand by playing a waiting game.

"The Democrats are running out the clock. They want to delay the hard work of negotiation until the August 2 deadline they have been warning us about all summer," said Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Even before senators had a chance to vote on the Reid proposal, the House rejected it preemptively in a largely symbolic vote.

After the vote, House Speaker John Boehner, who broke off talks with the White House about a week ago, saying Congress would take the lead, called on Obama Saturday to forge a solution.

"Now we've been driven into this cul-de-sac. And it's time for the President to decide how we're going to get out of it," Boehner said.

Still, Boehner and McConnell reported some progress with the White House late Saturday.

"In spite of our differences, I think we're dealing with reasonable, responsible people who want this crisis to end as quickly as possible, and I think we will," Boehner said.

In a Twitter message, Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk said he was "encouraged by administration joining GOP leaders on bipartisan deal."

Following a meeting at the White House Saturday night, Reid spoke with a cautious tone.

"There are many elements to be finalized, many elements to be finalized. And there is still a distance to go before any arrangement can be completed," Reid said.

On Saturday night, the White House isn't commenting on where things stand. Meanwhile, the Senate has delayed until a vote until Sunday on Reid's plan to give the GOP and the White House time to work out a deal.

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