The government shutdown begins its second week with the parties still bitterly divided and Republicans increasingly tying the impasse to a looming deadline to avoid a default on U.S. debt in 10 days. Former U.S Congressman Jim McCrery was serving in the House during the last government shutdown. The Shreveport native now is on the steering committee for the Campaign to Fix the Debt. That’s a Washington-based nonpartisan organization to address the nation’s fiscal policies. McCrery believes that if the debt ceiling isn’t raised it will wreak economic havoc across the globe.
"If Congress doesn’t increase the debt ceiling in relatively short order, it could put at risk some of the debts and obligations of the federal government, which would call into question the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. That could have some very damaging economic repercussions," McCrery said.
There must be some give-and-take between Democrats and Republicans, according to the former Republican lawmaker. In order to resolve issues of federal spending, he said, there must be more cooperation, especially to take on the complicated issues like long-term funding of entitlement programs. But McCrery said politicians are dug in.
“Unfortunately, leaders on both sides of the aisle, and at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, drew lines in the sand way too early in this discussion. They’re now almost trapped in their own corners. Politically, it’s very difficult for them to step across that line," McCrery said.
Perhaps with two big issues on the table -- funding the government in 2014 and the debt ceiling issue -- there could be enough wiggle room to reach some sort of agreement, McCrery said.