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Mass. delegation urges resolution of debt impasse

WASHINGTON – As congressional leaders conferred over the looming debt limit, members of the Massachusetts US House and US Senate delegations have urged a resolution to the impasse that would prevent a crisis while bringing down the debt – occasionally taking political swipes in the process.

US Senator John F. Kerry, Democrat:

“I’ve never seen economic catastrophe courted so cavalierly and casually by a political party. The House Republicans are calling all the shots in their party and they’re tempting and maybe even rooting for disaster when the markets open Monday – it has nothing to do with deficits and everything to do with tax purity. They care more about loyalty to Grover Norquist than to the economic interests of our country. Look, we’re going to avoid default somehow, but this is one ugly tutorial from Boehner, Cantor and company on how not to govern. They’ve squandered opportunity and seem willing to destroy the economy.’’

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US Senator Scott P. Brown, Republican:

“Both parties need to come together on a plan that will allow us to avoid default, make substantial cuts in spending, which is reasonable and bipartisan and will have a chance of being signed into law. Let’s stop the negative politics and partisan bickering and get down to work. Time is running short.’’

US Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat from Malden:

“Republicans in Congress are grandstanding to appease their extreme Tea Party wing. Democrats are committed to protecting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits while working to reduce the budget deficit responsibly. With the deadline fast approaching, it is past time for the GOP to stop insisting that tax breaks for billionaires and Big Oil must be preserved at the expense of Social Security checks for Grandma. The American people want both sides to come together to sensibly end this stalemate now.’’

US Representative Barney Frank, Democrat from Newton:

“It’s a little late for Boehner to be worried about disrupting the markets. Remember, let’s be very clear, raising the debt limit has been a fairly routine thing for decades. It was the Tea Party takeover of the Republican party that transformed a simple decision to pay the debts we have incurred into the cause of a government crisis. It wasn’t under Ronald Reagan, or under George Bush or under Richard Nixon… For them now to be saying we don’t want to roil the markets – they should have thought of that before they turned something that should have been routine into a crisis.’’

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“I am prepared to support going forward a package that starts serious debt reduction even in the next calendar year with restraints on domestic spending that I support. We won’t be able to do enough, but I also want to see very substantial military reductions. The notion that we would do all of these things and then stay in Iraq another year I think is insane. And I want some increased taxes… And that includes some savings in Social Security and Medicare — although, there are a couple of things that I would not accept. One, increasing the retirement age or the eligibility age. I don’t think some woman who spent 50 years on her feet as a clerk in a store ought to have to do that until she’s 70 or 72.’’

US Representative Michael E. Capuano, a Somerville Democrat:

“Certainly all the economists I have spoken to, many of them from the greater Boston area, have all told me that that the markets will not be happy. They did not set a date or said specifically as of Monday, but they all said that they would be completely shaken if they thought there would be no deal, or if they missed a deadline. Honestly, like everybody else in the world, I guess I’m going to anxiously await the opening of the markets – mostly the American markets, but any markets – like anybody else.’’

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“The way forward is the only way that’s ever been possible — a compromise. It’s the only way to move forward, and that compromise has to include a balance between thoughtful cuts over a reasonable period of time combined with a thoughtful increase in revenue. “

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