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Debt Ceiling Uncertainty Worries Local Seniors

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terrilee3 Terri Lee Sylvester
I am a graduate of Wayne State University with a Bachelor of Arts...
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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The standoff on Capitol Hill over raising the debt ceiling shows no signs of breaking.

Reporting from a Social Security office in Royal Oak, WWJ Newsradio 950′s Terri Lee said the debate has local seniors and others worried about their social security checks.

Jane Kasar of Ferndale doesn’t think lawmakers are doing what they can to reaching an agreement over the nation’s debt ceiling.

“I would be homeless,” said Kasar, if they can’t reach an agreement by the August 2 deadline.

“I don’t know, it’s scary talking about cutting Medicare and Medicade.  There’s a lot of people that have Social Security and if they cut that, especially the older people, they can’t go out and work,” she said.

Kasar said an elderly friend she helps with various needs would become a shut-in, or would be unable to leave his home, because he would not be able to afford a taxi.  She said he does not have the ability to walk to the bus-stop.

Those monthly benefit checks are a lifeline also for Marcia Dinkins of Oak Park and her family. Without them, Dinkins said she would be devastated.

“Without them, we wouldn’t be able to survive,” said Dinkins. “The economy already has us in a position where you are making the choice between do I put gas in my car or do I feed my children.  To just have something else go on would just be another form of devastation.”

While they are negotiating, Dinkins wants lawmakers to think about the average American citizen.

“Think about others and not yourselves,” said Dinkins. “Put yourself in our place and figure out how you would react with this,” she said.

Wayne Taber of Madison Heights sais he relies on his Social Security check as his income.

“Well, I wouldn’t be very pleased since I am retired,” said Taber.  “I think they are just playing a lot of silly games.”

Taber also has a message he would he give to lawmakers.

“I would say sit down and use some common sense for a change,” said Taber. “I think they’ve just been fiddling around for too many years and it doesn’t make sense what is happening,” he said.

In Washington, House GOP leaders are planning a vote Thursday on a proposed amendment to the Constitution requiring a balanced budget.

The vote comes as Congress struggles to pass legislation increasing the government’s borrowing cap to avoid a U.S. default.  Many tea party-backed lawmakers are insisting on passage of a balanced budget amendment before they consider voting for an increase in the debt limit.

But the House effort appears unlikely to win the two-thirds margin required to pass.  The House passed a balanced budget amendment in 1995 but it fell just short in the Senate.

Republicans are backing a version of the amendment that’s far stricter than the 1995 version. It would require a two-thirds vote by Congress to raise taxes and would force major cuts to Medicare and Social Security.

Click to read more about the Debt Ceiling Debate.

The Associated Press helped contribute to this report.

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