Following the agreement in Washington on the debt ceiling, WJET spoke to local Democratic and Republican leaders to hear how they reacted to the bi-partisan agreement.

With the threat of the United States possibly defaulting on its debt looming, political leaders in Washington D.C. have finally reached an agreement on the national debt ceiling.

Erie County’s Democratic Party chairman explained where he thinks the deal falls short.       

“Unfortunately, those cuts are going to come on the backs of older people who need food assistance, veterans who need access to health care and unfortunately everybody who is drowning in student loan debt,” said Jim Wertz, Erie County Democratic Party chairman.

Republicans say the deal just digs an even deeper hole for the country.

“It was really interesting to look at the really hardcore Republicans. They’re not supporting this and I kind of see their point because we are adding more debt — $4 trillion,” said Brian Shank, Republican.

Republicans hold a majority in the U.S. House and raised the debt ceiling several times during Donald Trump’s presidency.

Some argue they’re holding the United States hostage in a game of political football.

“Here we are arguing essentially over something that’s already been agreed upon only because a fringe of the Republican Party wants to hold this country hostage for programs that they don’t like,” Wertz added.

According to the Department of Treasury, since 1960 Congress has raised the debt ceiling a  total of 78 times — 49 times with sitting Republican presidents and 29 times with Democrats in the oval office.

Local Republicans say bi-partisan work is essential to avoiding this reoccurring problem in the future.

“I didn’t see anything overwhelmingly shocking except for the fact when Joe Biden says ‘I’m not going to negotiate with Republicans,’ which I thought was ridiculous because if you’re not negotiating, you’re not being a good elected official because that’s what we have to do,” Shank said.