• People reach out to officials for 'fiscal cliff' update

    By: Torie Wells


    Roger Brown from Charlotte has been watching the news as he looks for updates on the "fiscal cliff." He said he is frustrated those updates aren't coming from his representatives.

    He said he understands party leaders are leading the negotiations, and U.S. lawmakers from the Charlotte area may not have much to update him on, but he says he has been checking lawmaker websites, Facebook pages and twitter pages for weeks and is disappointed he has not found more.

    "When I try to find out more detail about what's going on from my local representatives, from the people we elected to represent us, I see nothing, I hear nothing," said Brown.

    Eyewitness News reached out to his lawmakers’ offices Monday and asked what they are doing to respond to voter concerns.

    A spokesperson for Sen. Richard Burr's office said it is fielding hundreds, if not thousands, of calls from voters. Channel 9 looked online and found Burr posted statements on his website this week. Eyewitness News was told the fiscal cliff has been a topic of his newsletters as well.

    Channel 9 checked Congressman Mel Watt's website and Twitter page but saw no recent updates on the fiscal cliff. When Eyewitness News called his office in Washington, a recording said it was closed until the new year.

    "Give us some type of answer, even if it's 'we have no answer now,'" Brown said.

    Eyewitness News also reached out to other lawmakers. Sunday night, voters left letters at congresswoman Sue Myrick's Southpark office. Eyewitness News stopped by Monday and saw those letters were gone.

    A representative from Myrick's office said those notes were picked up, and their messages are being passed along. They also said that Myrick will no longer hold her position as of Wednesday, when she retires, but representatives are still fielding calls as of Monday.

    Sen. Kay Hagan's office says it has been trying to keep voters updated through numerous TV interviews across the state.

    One voter Channel 9 spoke with said she has been following negotiations but wishes she had contacted her representatives.

    "I've looked to see what they are doing, but I really haven't pushed like I should," said Yisteen DuBose from Charlotte.

    She is still frustrated that finding a solution has been drawn out.

    "I'm really concerned about it," she said.

    Eyewitness News did not hear from Watt's office by newstime.

    Burr's office sent Channel 9 a statement he released Sunday stating, "Negotiations on how to reach a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff have been ongoing since the President was reelected in November. Last night, Republicans laid an offer on the table, but the President instructed Majority Leader Reid not to make a counteroffer that could help move the process forward. The sticking point is simple - Republicans refuse to support a plan that uses new revenue from increased taxes for new, expanded government spending. The President told Congress and the American people that any new revenue would go towards paying down our national debt, but Democrats are insisting that the nearly $600 billion in new revenue should go towards new spending. Raising taxes on the American people so the government can spend more money is unconscionable, and it is not something I will support.

    "At this point, I think it is clear that the President is not serious about reaching a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff and is using our economy and the livelihood of American families and businesses for what he sees as political gain. Jeopardizing our economic recovery and being content to let our economy go over the cliff is a clear indication of where the President's priorities lie."

    Senator Hagan's offices sent us a statement from her stating, "It is inexcusable that Congress has again brought the nation to the eleventh hour and left middle class families hanging in the balance. I continue to urge a bipartisan solution that will avert sequestration and the fiscal cliff. If we don't act, the average North Carolina family will pay an extra $2,200 in taxes. That's unacceptable. On top of that, the consequences of sequestration are amplified in our state given our large military footprint and the economic importance of the defense industry to our local economies. I hope my colleagues will join me to enact a balanced deficit reduction plan that promotes economic growth and national security."

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