Debt deal could be risky for Virginia

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWBT) - The deal is done, but the debate is just beginning. Lawmakers have raised the debt ceiling but put off big decisions on entitlement reform and taxes.

They now must come up with a new plan that both sides can agree on and if they don't the alternative could have a huge impact on Virginia.

It's not easy. Cutting several trillion dollars means that everyone will feel the pain.

"There is no question that everything is on the table," said Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Henrico), The House Majority Leader.

That includes the booming defense industry, an economy that sustains an important part of  the Commonwealth. If a new bi-partisan commission must come up with $1.5 trillion in cuts by Thanksgiving. If they don't, a provision in this current deal will go into effect. That provision arbitrarily cuts defense and Medicare deep.

It is something both sides would like to avoid.

"This is really a bill that provides a forcing mechanism," said Cantor. "So that we can begin to live within our means."

"The cuts that would come a year from now would be very challenging to Virginia, particularly on the defense side," said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia). "All the more reason to get a real plan in place."

A plan that will probably still be forced to cut from the Defense Department. However the cuts will be more strategic, and even if they hurt Virginia contractors, necessary.

"We all understand that we have to take measures and some of them are going to be tough measures, in order to preserve the integrity of the American economy," said Sen. Jim Webb (D-Virginia)

That means Virginians, especially those tied to the defense industry need to prepare. Because whatever the outcome, the cuts will have some sort of lasting impact.

"There is a difference between needs and wants," said Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Montross), who represents a region filled with people tied to the defense industry.  "I want to make sure that the focus is on meeting those needs."

Needs that will hopefully become clear as this debate moves forward, and federal leaders are forced to make tough decisions that could impact the country for years to come.

So mark that date down on your calendar, but not for the turkey and stuffing. Thanksgiving could be the next day we are all staring at Capitol Hill, wondering if they will come up with a deal that will get us past this current stand-off.

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