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Dallas Residents Sound Off Over Debt Ceiling Debate

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - While the U.S. Congress struggles over what to do with the pending debt ceiling deadline, local congressional representatives are getting an earful from constituents.  A common theme they are hearing is "do something."

On Monday, President Barack Obama urged Americans to call Congress with their concerns, and people responded, though maybe not always in the way he wanted.

"I think I am absolutely embarrassed by the members we have sent to Congress and have been there year after year after year…. and not addressed now until we're in a crisis mode," says Vickie Berry of Dallas.  She is angry with both sides for waiting so long and running the risk of stampeding through some very bad legislation.

Republican Pete Sessions' office says calls have increased, and the sentiment is that Washington must do something. Republican Sam Johnson's people say more than 2,000 calls have come in since Monday night urging Congress to cut spending and not raise taxes.

Republican Ralph Hall had more callers, too, with positions evenly split along party lines. Representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson (D – TX), Jeb Hensarling (R–TX), and Joe Barton(R–TX) all received more calls than usual, calling for action.

Late Wednesday, Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison urged fellow senators to pass either of two bills currently in the house or senate.  She said both versions did not want to raise taxes.

"But I do hope that we can also make the cuts that will put us on a fiscally responsible plan so we will not have to address this debt ceiling ever again," she said.

She urged a review of entitlement programs after the debt ceiling crisis is handled, adding, "I think in order to avoid a fiscal calamity we do need to make the strongest step we can make, which is cutting spending and doing it without increasing taxes."

On the streets of Dallas came a mixed review: people are concerned but not too worried, yet.

"We're going to run out of money;  I guess seeing all the bad things that are happening overseas I guess that's 'semi' on my mind," said Dallas resident Shaun McClain.

Ryn Hughes is in town for the Mary Kay convention from her home in Kihei on the island of Maui in Hawaii.  "I'm just leaving it to Obama," she said.

"I know we elected him and put him in there and we're hoping our congressmen can do what they need to do. You know, put them in there, they're the guys with the brains. I support their opinions about this," she added.

But Vickie Berry remained adamant that decisive action must be taken.  "I personally think there's a lot of waste internally within the government and they ought to do a wholesale 15% cut in every department's spending."

It's very simple, she insists.

"There are two components to the equation: There's money coming in and there's money going out, and the money coming in is not enough to cover the spending that's been imposed on us. And raising taxes is not the answer."

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