On Rep. Mick Mulvaney’s Facebook page, Cheryl Mann wrote, “Can you people (Congress) please get it together & compromise already!” Mulvaney, a freshman Republican from South Carolina, was undecided as to how he would vote on Wednesday. “This is so embarrasing for the US!”
On Rep. Connie Mack’s (R-Fla.) wall, annoyed Facebook “fan”Kurt Maehlenbrock, chastises Congress for continuing to bicker.
“With all due respect to Connie Mack...All the senators and congressmen should be ashamed of themselves that they cannot get this economy started and fix the debt ceiling,” Maehlenbrock wrote.
Just under a week remains until the debt ceiling is set to expire on Aug. 2, meaning the government will default on its bills if the limit isn’t raised by Congress, and the long-running drama in Washington is apparently being closely watched by cyber-citizens.
In a Monday night speech, President Obama urged citizens to take to the phone lines and call their representatives to urge them to craft a compromise plan. And the Capitol switchboard was flooded with just such calls starting Tuesday.
But netizens have also been active, taking to social networks like Facebook to express their strongly-held viewpoints. Comments on some of Boehner’s wall posts have exceeded 10,000, with other lawmakers are also seeing comments and “likes” in the hundreds and thousands.
A new report by the non-partisan Congressional Management Foundation found that most lawmakers have fully integrated social media into their communications operations, and two-thirds of senior and social media managers think that Facebook is a “somewhat or very important tool for understanding constituents’ views and opinions.”
As of Wednesday, the path toward a deal was still murky, with Republicans apparently falling in line behind a deal still being hashed out by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) that may land on the House floor as early as Thursday. The Congressional Budget Office had rejected an earlier version of Boehner’s plan after it proved to cut less from the deficit than expected.
Meanwhile, the White House threatened to veto the first Boehner bill, and supported a measure by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
The battle raging in Washington has a mirror world on Facebook, where the comments on lawmakers’ fan pages are a similarly heated microcosm of the Washington debate. Skimming through comments of over 40 key players’ Facebook pages, the general feedback on all was similar — frustrated, worried and surprisingly bipartisan. Suggestions from both conservatives and liberals alike appeared on all Facebook pages, regardless of the lawmaker’s affiliation. Most commenters wanted to see a decision instead of additional debate and ultimately default.