PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Congress could vote today on a plan to raise the debt ceiling and pull the nation back from the brink of financial default.
After months of contentious debate, President Obama and Congressional leaders announced the historic agreement Sunday night.
The new debt agreement would slice at least $2 trillion from federal spending over a decade and it would extend the U.S. Treasury’s authority to borrow beyond the 2012 elections.
So is the new debt deal bad for Pennsylvania and other states?
The cost of the compromise will inflict more fiscal pain on states who are still struggling to recover from the recession and the end of federal stimulus spending.
Wide-ranging cuts in federal aid to states like Pennsylvania will affect everything from the Head Start school readiness program, Meals on Wheels and worker training initiatives to funding for transit agencies like the Port Authority and education grants that serve disabled children.
Local politicians are also weighing in on the new debt plan.
KDKA-TV spoke with Democratic Congressman Mike Doyle of Forest Hills and Republican Congressman Tim Murphy, who represents the South Hills. While neither had seen the plan, both had opinions about what the compromise could mean to Social Security and Medicare.
“I will not cut benefits to the most vulnerable people in this country while the wealthiest people in this country are being asked to do nothing,” Doyle said, “so that’s why I need to see the details before I can give a final answer as to how I’m going to vote on this.”
“It really is going to force Congress to find some more efficient and effective ways of running those programs,” added Congressman Murphy. “I know that people on Medicare are concerned that in just nine years that program is out of money and we have to shore it up, we have to strengthen it. We have to make sure it’s more efficient and it’s not wasting money in so many ways; and that is I think good news in that it’s really going to force Congress to get on with the work of improving Medicare.”
Democrat Congressman Jason Altmire and Republican Congressman Tim Murphy also joined NewsRadio 1020 KDKA this morning to discuss what their sides are saying about the deal.
Listen to the full interviews:
Both Doyle and Murphy believe the plan will pass the House and the Senate and avert an economic disaster.