Amidst the dual crises of the partial government shutdown and the swiftly approaching debt limit, Congressman Lacy Clay (D - St. Louis) is addressing the inaction and hearing from constituents.
Before traveling back to D.C. for an evening meeting of the House, Clay stopped by St. Louis Public Radio to discuss the latest on Capitol Hill with St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh.
Here's what he had to say on the partial government shutdown, the debt ceiling and more.
On the inaction of Congress:
"I certainly understand the anger of the American people, and I’ve heard it loud and clear after being home this weekend and last weekend..you’re moving your chops and there’s inaction...I understand anger on behalf of the American people because they do expect government to function."
On the possible consequences of a government unable to pay its bills:
"It’s going to have a direct impact on our regional economy as well as our world’s economy...those are uncharted waters that we really don’t need to enter."
On what House Democrats are doing now:
"This week is the beginning of what we call a discharge petition," said Clay. "It will get all 200 Democrats' signatures. We need 217 to bring the issue of a clean Continuing Resolution to the floor. We will see if we get those 17 members of the Republican Party. To see if they want to stand up for this country, or if they want to continue to stand with Tea Party extremists."
"I believe there are [17 Republicans willing to sign]. I believe there's more than seventeen," added Clay. "The problem is, those who step forward first, they will be harassed and harangued by the extremist element of their party. And sometimes you have to show courage, and this is one of those times...But in my conversations with them, they know that this is not how government is supposed to function."
According to Politico, the discharge petition will not immediately result in a passed budget. For now, the greater hope lies in continued talks between the President and leaders of both the House and the Senate.
With the debt limit expected to be reached by Thursday, today's meeting between those parties was postponed in order to "allow leaders in the Senate time to continue making important progress towards a solution that raises the debt limit and reopens the government."