With a deadline facing the U.S. Government on August 2nd Newschannel Six reached out to Texas District 13 Congressman Mac Thornberry on Tuesday. In our exclusive interview we asked the Congressman about the debt deal after President Barack Obama made a plea to the American public to let their representatives know how they feel about this political impasse. Congressman Thornberry's office was busy in Washington D.C. and in Wichita Falls. Staffers told Newschannel Six that many people took notice. Many tell us they are frustrated that a deal has not been done. Congressman Thornberry said he was frustrated also.
"I think lots of people are frustrated at the inability to reach a resolution including me, by the way so sure there's frustration." said Congressman Thornberry. "Some people take the President's view that there needs to be compromise that would include new taxes, and so far the overwhelming majority of people who contacted us do not believe that's the case and are basically of the view that the house should stay strong."
On Monday night the President said that compromise was a dirty word in Washington. This has been a political fight along party lines since the beginning so we asked the Congressman if partisan politics could be put aside so a deal could be reached.
"Nobody is going to get exactly what they want or need, not the President, not me, not anybody in Congress, probably not anybody in the country is going to get exactly what they want," said Congressman Thornberry. "The situation we find ourselves in not just the potential for default, but the potential for not taking serious action on our over spending. Both things are going to result in Congress passing something and giving it to the President. I think he'll have no choice but to sign it at this point."
There are currently two deals on the table to at least address the current August 2nd debt ceiling deadline. One is out of the Democratic controlled Senate. The other is out of the Republican controlled House. Both sides have said they will not vote for the other plan. We asked Congressman Thornberry if either one of the plans had at least a chance to make it to the President's desk by the deadline.
"I think if the House bill passes there is a very good chance it would pass the Senate because frankly it was negotiated with the Senate before the President got Harry Reid (Senate Majority Leader) to back off of it. I think it is extremely doubtful that the Senate bill will pass the Senate or the House because it doesn't make real cuts," said Congressman Thornberry.
Late on Tuesday night the House bill was being fine tuned because the Congressional Budget Office informed Speaker of the House John Boehner that it did not have the cuts he claimed in the bill. That could delay an expected House vote on Wednesday. That same bill calls for an increase in the nations borrowing limit now and another at the end of the year. Congressman Thornberry said it would giver a bi-partisan committee a chance to iron out a lot of things that this deal does not do. Including some of the things that President Obama made mention of in his nationally televised address Monday night. The President made mention that it was not fair for a senior citizen to have to pay more for a Medicaid prescription to make up for cuts, while a large company making billions of dollars in profits continues to get tax breaks. Congressman Thornberry said he was a little let down that this deal did not address some of those concerns.
"Taxes and the entitlement programs under the plan that we're gonna vote on tomorrow (Wednesday) would be pushed back several months into the fall. So, yeah I'm disappointed that it's not part of something that we can vote on right now," said the Congressman.
If a deal is not struck and signed by President Obama by next Tuesday the United States will default on it's debt for the first time in the nation's history. Newschannel Six is going to stay on top of this story and will be in contact with the Congressman until a deal is reached.