Gov. Beshear calls for Washington to resolve debt impasse - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Gov. Beshear calls for Washington to resolve debt impasse

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- Concerned about potential effects on the state budget, Gov. Steve Beshear on Thursday called for Washington political leaders to step up efforts to resolve the impasse in raising the federal debt ceiling.

Beshear said Kentucky, like every other state, is anxiously watching congressional negotiations while hoping for a quick resolution that would keep federal funding flowing, particularly for programs like education, transportation, and medical care for the poor and elderly.

The Democratic governor told reporters he's particularly worried that economic gains of the past year in Kentucky could be erased if the impasse continues. He didn't single out key GOP leaders from Kentucky, namely U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and freshman U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a fiscal hardliner and tea party darling.

"I include everybody in Washington D.C. who has anything to do with this," said Beshear, who is seeking re-election this year. 

Failing to raise the federal borrowing limit would force the government to slash spending and possibly cause a default that could depress financial markets, cause a rise in interest rates, and potentially cause the economy to slide back into recession.

Beshear called on everyone involved to be statesmen and to put aside partisan bickering that he said appears to be causing the deadlock.

"There is no way that the United States of America ought to be at this crossroads right now," Beshear said. "It is obviously that folks in Washington D.C. are allowing partisan politics to rule the day and they're giving no thought to the interest of the American public. It's time that they get their act together up there and put the people first and their partisan political goals second."

Budget Director Mary Lassiter told nervous lawmakers Thursday that Kentucky has no way to prepare for the potential financial impact if a debt-limit deal isn't reached.

"All of the states are in the same quandary right now," Beshear said. "It's very difficult to plan right now because no one knows for sure what the federal government will do, what bills they will pay, what programs they will not fund, and, until we know that, it's pretty hard to do much preparation."

Beshear said he was appalled by the breakdown in Washington. "It's time that people step up and be statesmen first," he said. "I mean the future of this country in terms of real harm to real people is at stake, and they need to put aside all this partisan bickering they've been involved in and get to work and resolve something."

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