Texans give Congress an earful on debt debate

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on July 26, 2011 at 8:23 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 27 at 3:42 PM

Time is running out.

America has one week until the government loses its ability to borrow money.

The two sides in Washington aren't talking, but voters in Texas are talking, and they want this situation resolved.

After dueling speeches Monday night by President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, people burned up the phone lines to the Capitol Hill offices of local lawmakers Tuesday and took their viewpoints to the hot streets of North Texas.

In Fort Worth, members of the liberal-leaning group MoveOn demonstrated outside the district office of Republican Rep. Kay Granger. They say Granger and other Republicans should compromise with Democrats and President Obama by agreeing to some tax increases to go along with cuts to raise the debt limit.

"We don't want to see the United States balance its budget on the backs of the poor and seniors and middle class," said MoveOn's Athena Chavez.

MoveOn staged protests outside Republican congressional offices in Dallas, Houston and Austin.

People were also sounding off in phone calls after the president urged them to contact their congressional representatives.

Callers got a busy signal when they called Dallas-area Republican Jeb Hensarling on Tuesday, the fourth-ranking Republican in the House leadership.

The crush of calls swamped congressional phone circuits. Hensarling's Washington office says those who got through were "across the board."

Hensarling supports the Speaker Boehner's plan to raise the debt limit by $1 trillion, cut spending by a greater amount, and rely on a bi-partisan commission to identify further cuts.

"It's not what I originally supported; it's not what I particularly wanted; but it's the closest thing we have to the approach of cut, cap and balance so that the government can pay its bill today," Rep. Hensarling said.

House Republicans hope to vote on the speaker's plan on Wednesday, although the White House says the president would likely veto it.

Regarding all the calls, Politico reports there were signs they were part of a social network campaign coordinated by the president's supporters.

It also notes tea party groups did the same thing during the debate over health care reform.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

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