Lawmakers Talk Money
While there's another threat of a government shutdown on March 27 unless the U.S. Senate and Congress reach some type of compromise, members of Virginia's Congressional delegation say some progress is being made. There's even a possibility of reducing the impacts of sequestration on Virginia.
Three budget amendments by Senator Mark Warner were approved. They address spending transparency, duplicate reports, and the federal retiree backlog.
Freshman Senator Tim Kaine is applauding the Senate committee’s passage of a budget, which he says has not been done for years. He says while the budget is not yet finalized, it's a good start. The state’s entire delegation has been concerned about the defense spending cuts that they say will hurt Virginia the most. But Kaine says the 2013 budget language revises sequestration, as well as language in next year's budget:
"We're writing the budget for fiscal year '14. So the sequester had these effects all the way out for 10 years. But the budget that we're writing will soften significantly the effects of the sequester in the out years-by basically replacing it with instead of cross-the-board cuts, a targeted mixture of cuts, and then some strategic revenues that will I think do a good job of really softening the blow," he said.
Republican Congressman Rob Wittman also applauds the Senate for gaining momentum, but he's still uneasy about how cuts will impact the military. Republican Randy Forbes adds that he’s concerned that the Senate has moved its goalposts repeatedly by asking for and achieving tax increases in January, and now asking for them again.