Budget Battles Continue

Apr 12, 2013

President Obama's new budget has of course sparked a battle on Capitol Hill.

We know Republicans aren’t happy with the president’s newly unveiled budget, but neither are some Virginia Democrats.

In his budget the President is embracing a new way to tie Social Security payments to the rate of inflation. It’s called the “Chained CPI” but let’s get past the Washington jargon. What it amounts to is less money in those Social Security checks for future generations of seniors.

Virginia Democratic Congressman Bobby Scott was one of just a handful of Democrats to oppose the deal to avert going over the so-called fiscal cliff at the beginning of the year. At the time he argued against the bill because it only raised about six hundred billion dollars in taxes. Scott says he knew entitlement programs would eventually hit the chopping block because of that bill extending Bush-era tax cuts.  
Other Virginia Democrats are keeping mum until they see the Social Security proposal flushed out.

Congressman Gerry Connolly says he might be able to accept it in exchange for tax increases from House Republicans.

Virginia Republican Scott Rigell sums the budget up in four words. “More spending, more taxes," he says.
Then there are the budget implications for Virginia’s large military sector. The White House budget calls for a new round of base closures, called BRAC. It also proposes having service members pay more for their health care while shrinking their expected pay increase. Rigell calls the president’s proposal for defense “disturbing.”

Some Virginia Republicans say it’s premature to have another independent commission look at military bases closures, in part because the commonwealth risks having a base closed if the proposal becomes law.

All told there’s plenty in the president’s budget that’s angering lawmakers in both parties, but it moves the budget debate a step further in Washington. Now it’s a waiting game to see if the two parties can move towards a broad budget agreement by the time the debt ceiling needs to be raised this summer.