Oklahomans Respond To President Obama’s National Debt Debate Speech

Tuesday, July 26th 2011, 8:07 pm
By: News 9

Jennifer Pierce, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Most of the people living in an Oklahoma City apartment complex depend on social security checks. One lady living here calls the social security office everyday to make sure her money will be there.

They tell her it will, unless Congress can't come to a deal by August 2.

After President Obama's speech on Monday night, Oklahoma's elected leaders' phone lines and emails lit up.

News 9 contacted all of the members of Congress in Oklahoma, however, it is difficult to get through.

When the phone calls did get through, staff members say that servers have crashed, web sites are down, phones have been ringing more than usual.

They say the reaction to the debt debate is mixed. Some want Republicans to stand their ground, others want lawmakers to support the President's plan.

"I watch this every day," says Carol Graffius, a recent visitor to Congressman Tom Cole's office. "I read it every day, I don't see how Obama has such patience. "

That's why she and several other people showed up to Congressman Cole's Norman office on Tuesday. They're worried about the nation's debt, and say they don't want lawmakers to cut services they depend on.

"I don't mind cutting other wasteful things but not social security, Medicare or Medicaid," says Suzi Howard, one of the visitors at Congressman Cole's office on Tuesday.

The president said in the speech that a deal has been stalled, because of the newest GOP members of Congress. Oklahoma's freshman representative weighs in.

"His emphasis was we've always just raised the debt ceiling every year and it's never been a problem until you got here, "says James Lankford, Representative of Oklahoma's 5th District. "If we have a plan to get us out of debt at some point, not immediately but a realistic plan to help us get out of this then I will vote to extend the debt ceiling."

People across the state say they want congress to put their partisan bickering aside, and come to a compromise.

Senator Jim Inhofe's communication director says that his office got more than 1600 emails today. That's more than double the normal volume, and the reason why Senator Inhofe's web site crashed.