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Virginia senators want sound budgeting

As the debt ceiling deadline loomed, Virginia’s two Democratic senators said Tuesday that Congress needs to deal seriously with the underlying fiscal problems that have led to this current impasse.

In a conference call with reporters Tuesday morning, Sen. Tim Kaine said Congress must return to normal budget cycles, rather than lurching from one continuing resolution to the next without an overarching budget plan.

The normal budget process, Kaine said, is where lawmakers should be able to debate Republicans’ push to defund the Affordable Care Act and other budget disputes that have now driven the federal government shutdown.

“The shutdown was unnecessary. The House didn’t have to push it to this but now we’re going to have an opportunity to get this right,” Kaine told reporters. “The only way we’ll do it is if we return to normal processes.”

Sen. Mark Warner held his own, separate conference call with reporters later in the day, after Senate negotiations that had seemed close to a deal in the morning had apparently broken down in the face of new House Republican proposals.

“I’d hoped that this call was going to be a little more optimistic,” he said.

An audibly frustrated Warner said the U.S. is in “uncharted territory” and that he thinks efforts to reach a deal are “going to be right up against the edge on Thursday.”

Warner has made the federal debt and deficit issues a focus in his first term and said the only long-term solution to the recurring debt ceiling fights Congress keeps having is for both sides to seriously discuss revenue and entitlement programs, finding an appropriate balance in which both sides give some.

“You can’t keep punting on this issue and have the American economy recover,” Warner said.

Chelyen Davis: 540/368-5028


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