Debt Plan Agreement? Better Than Nothing, NOVA Politicians Say
President Obama announced Sunday night that a debt ceiling agreement was finally reached among White House and GOP, Democrats on Capitol Hill.
Updated 12 Noon ET
"Better than nothing" might be the best way to describe Northern Virginia politicians' reactions Monday to President Obama's Sunday evening announcement that a deal has been struck to raise the debt ceiling and reduce federal spending over the next 10 years.
The compromise deal would raise the debt ceiling in two steps by $2.4 trillion and also cut federal spending by the same amount. The announcement comes after weeks of anguished wrangling on Capitol Hill that has roiled the country.
Virginia Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-11th): "There's something in this deal for everyone to hate," he said from the Capitol rotunda. "It is what we have and we're on the brink of a catastrophic default if we don't act," he told Fox5 this morning. He also took to his Twitter feed: "Reports of a $3t deal but scant details. Bipartisan commission and automatic triggers. No official word yet. One day to go."
Speaking on the House floor on Saturday, Connolly, a Democrat, urged members to take action: "Mr. Speaker, it’s long past time we started listening to the American people and reach a compromise to avoid a national default."
In Alexandria, Mayor William Euille said the deal was better than nothing. "I am not pleased with this deal, however, something needed to happen to prevent an international financial crisis," he said. "Alexandria's bond rates may still be impacted."
Word that a deal has finally been made was met with admonishing advice from Sharon Bulova, who chairs the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and whose county was put on notice last week that its sterling credit rating might be tarnished due to the stalemate on Capitol Hill.
“I am encouraged to hear about the deal over the debt ceiling announced by President Obama," she said in a statement Monday morning. "I hope that once a final agreement is reached, our representatives in Washington will learn from this debate and never again put the economic livelihoods of Americans at risk over partisan ideology,” she said.
Fairfax County's Braddock District Supervisor John Cook (R) commented on the debt limit compromise:
"I'm on vacation and have not read details about the debt limit compromise, except that it provides for $2.4 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years," he said. "I'm glad that Congress has averted the immediate crisis. However, we were hoping for between $4 trillion and $9 trillion in cuts, so this compromise doesn't solve any problems. There's still a lot of work that needs to be done."
"I think we all realize that the immediate crisis is past," he said. "I've been concerned about the impact a default would have had on our own county's AAA bond rating."
"As individuals we've done a better job in the past few years of reducing our debt that the government has," Cook said. "The government now needs to follow suit."
Virginia House Del. David Englin, who represents the state's 45th District, which includes parts of Arlington and Fairfax counties and the City of Alexandria, home to many federal contractors, had this to say:
"I'm relieved that the United States will avoid defaulting on its debt, which would have been catastrophic," he said in a statement. "However, I'm deeply disappointed with President Obama's apparent capitulation and abandonment of the balanced approach for which he repeatedly argued and that has the support of an overwhelming majority of Americans.
"Owners of private jets get to keep their tax breaks, while the services regular, middle class Americans need during these tough times get cut," Englin said. "So much for 'shared sacrifice.' President Obama and Democrats in Congress need to give America something to vote for, and not just Tea Party boogeymen to vote against."
Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, who was instrumental in identifying ways to cut the debt as a member of the "Gang of Six," said over the weekend: “Let's make sure we get a vote on something that is comprehensive, that's bipartisan,” he told CNN Saturday. “That's the only thing we're asking or at least I'm asking for. A third of the Senate says hey, if not the ‘gang of six’ plan, let's do something else that's comprehensive.”
While many were applauding the fact that Democrats and Republicans may have finally reached agreement on the impasse, Congress on Monday still needed to vote on the plan.
On Monday the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate must debate and then vote on the proposal. The U.S. House was set to begin debate on the proposal at 10 a.m. and the Senate at 10:30 a.m. Republican House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio reportedly is looking for a vote on the measure Monday.
Patch Editors Susan Larson and Sharon McLoone contributed to this report.