As clocks counted down the hours until a federal budget impasse shut down the United States government, West Virginia and Virginia residents had a suggestion: Put party politics aside and work together for the people.

“Well, they haven’t done very well, have they?” Peggy Ratliff, 77, of Keen Mountain, Va., said of the budget situation. “You know, I just don’t know about the world anymore. It seems upside down.”

Ratliff had a suggestion for balancing the budget. She told Congress that the country has to live within its means.

“It’s all I can do to balance my own budget. You can’t spend what you don’t have,” she said.

A Virginia resident was unsure how to balance the federal budget, but she blamed partisan arguing for the situation.

“I have no idea,” she said. “It seems like one (party) wants to blame the other. I hope they get it settled down tomorrow,” said Diana Collins, 48, of Wythe County, Va. “If the government shuts down, who’s going to be hurting? I just wonder if they would do stuff differently if they were feeling the impact and if they were the ones who were out of a job.”

One visitor at the Mercer Mall said members of Congress needed to put party politics aside when they address the budget issue.

“They need to forget that they’re Republican and they need to forget that they’re Democrat once they get there,” Eugene Castle of Dublin, Va., said. “They’ve got to work for the people. Forget parties and work for the people.”

A McDowell County resident said the budget cuts already being contemplated in Congress are enough; however, care should be taken to make sure nobody is hurt by the changes. Contemplated cuts in Medicare benefits were a concern.

“Some of the things shouldn’t be cut,” said Dewy Combs, 75, of War. “It would hurt too many people if they did.”

A Mercer County man agreed that it is time to forget politics and do what is best for the people.

“Really, I think they just need to cooperate,” said Joe McKenzie, 68, of Princeton. “They need to sit down and put their differences aside.”

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