Hampton Roads congressmen weigh in on looming budget crisis

October 19, 2017
In The News

NORFOLK, VA (WVEC)-- Members of the Hampton Roads Congressional delegation are offering mixed views on how budget matters may play out in Washington in the weeks ahead.

The government is currently operating under what's called a "Continuing Resolution." It expires on December 8, a little over 7 weeks away.

A continuing resolution is designed to be temporary, short-term legislation that allows the government to remain open as legislators deal with authorizations and appropriations.

Pentagon leaders and military analysts have said it is imperative for Congress to pass an actual budget for fiscal year 2018 quickly and eliminate the threat of sequestration.

The region's four House members, appearing before Hampton Roads Chamber, all agreed that CR's are not good a thing.

"CR's are absolutely harmful to every aspect of government but mostly for our military, so we have to get it done in December," said Rep. Rob Wittman (R-1st Distrct). "We have to get a long-term appropriation out."

Rep. Scott Taylor (R-2nd District) agreed.

"CR's are bad because they don't give stability and predictability in funding on multi-year projects," he said. "It doesn't allow for businesses and agencies to plan out."

Rep. Donald McEachin (D-4th District) was unsure that a long-term budget would be crafted this year.

"These CR's don't give us any sort of certainty. It sends the wrong signal to the business community about what we're prepared to do," he said. "We need to make the tough decisions, pass a budget and put forth for the American people to judge. I believe we'll get there, but I don't believe it's soon."

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-3rd District) was blunt.

"The problem is, we're not having a serious discussion," he said. "We start off with a trillion dollar tax cut and suggest it doesn't have to be paid for. Of course it has to be paid for. You either have to raise somebody else's taxes or reduce spending."

The congressmen did address other matters.

Witttman and McEachin expressed hope that the country will reach a 355 ship Navy.

Scott talked about the need to improve, not harm, health care.

Taylor called for an overhaul of the nation's tax code and the need to continue improving care for veterans.