Lawmakers ‘depressed,’ ‘downcast’ over debt talks

Republicans and Democrats are butting heads over everything from raising taxes to making spending cuts — with no end in sight. Things got even more tense last week when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) walked out of talks.

 

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Now Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) says the outlook’s so dim that his fellow senators are feeling downright downtrodden.

 “I tell you, I find that a lot of our colleagues — I hate to use the word ‘depressed’; I don’t mean it in a clinical way — but they’re downcast,” Lieberman said. “They’re really downcast about the failure of the process here as we head toward the debt-ceiling vote.”

 While Lieberman concedes he’s no Dr. Phil, he remains convinced he’s seen a real change of mood.

 But the feelings of saddened senators could get worse before they get better — there was chatter on Wednesday that leaders might cancel their Fourth of July recess to continue working on a deficit-reduction plan.

 Still, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who has battled with colleagues to produce a Senate budget resolution, says he remains hopeful about the institution.

 “I’m Scandinavian. I don’t spend much time being depressed. I’m always optimistic. We’ve got to find a way out of this.”