PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Congress has until Dec. 31 to reach a compromise before going over the so called "fiscal cliff." WAVY.com spoke to local legislators about the threat.
If a deal is not met on the "fiscal cliff" tax rates could go up and spending cuts could go into effect. Fourth District Representatives Forbes says this could hit consumers the hardest.
"That will reduce their buying power. It will have a huge impact on the country and the economy," said Forbes.
Congressman Bobby Scott says people could also lose long term unemployment insurance. Both congressmen are concerned that Congress is only looking at one factor in their negotiations, tax rates. They say there are a lot of others things on the table to consider.
"There is also the impact of the health care legislation, the tax rates, the spiraling debt and also the defense cuts that are coming into effect next year," said Forbes.
With neither sides showing signs of comprising, Congressmen Scott and Forbes say going over the cliff may
not be the worst thing.
"Long term all the experts say we will be better off going over the cliff, because we've actually done something about the deficit by going off the cliff. We'll have more revenues and we also have spending cuts," said Scott, Representative for Virginia's third district.
"Whatever doesn't happen in the next two days, we can always pass a bill that will make it retroactive to Jan. 1, so it would mitigate a lot of these consequences. I would predict that is what will happen," said Forbes.
Scott says he'd rather see the government go over the cliff than rush to make a last minute deal. He worries rushing to save tax cuts could mean other programs would be cut to make up for it.
"One of the problems with the late night discussions is now they just want to do part of a deal without the whole idea. They will do tax cuts now and then come back and do social security and Medicare cuts in a couple of weeks," said Scott.
WAVY.com also talked to voters about the fiscal cliff, many say they are frustrated it is taking so long for Congress to act.
"They can't make a decision on something that's going to happen at the first of the year so do you think most of them can make a decision on what's going to happen five years down the road? Do most of them care? Do they not think they are going to be in office that long?" said Bernard Brooks.
"Maybe this is a sign we need to step up and talk to our representatives because they are in 'La la land,'" said Courtney Felton.
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