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Debt Ceiling Debate Returns To Capitol Hill

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Lawmakers could face the debt ceiling debate once again.
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Lawmakers could face the debt ceiling debate once again.

Last year the partisan bickering over the debt ceiling led Standard and Poor's to downgrade the U.S. credit rating for the first time in history. Now, with many Republicans flatly refusing to support a debt ceiling increase, analysts worry the U.S. may face another downgrade. That could imperil Virginia's credit rating because the state's economy is so intertwined with that of the federal government.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) says he's surprised the Speaker of the House is rehashing this debate.

"It's Groundhogs Day," says Warner. "We saw what happened when the Speaker played debt ceiling roulette last summer. We almost blew up the economy, and with the turmoil in Europe, to kind of lay down these [sic] my way or the highway approach. There's nothing productive in that."

But Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) says the debt ceiling debate is the perfect time to refocus the conversation in Washington.

"Unless Washington learns that we just can't keep on this huge spending appetite we've had, there's no way we're going to balance this budget and get back to where we need, which is strong credit ratings but also fiscal soundness," Forbes says.

It's an election year, so lawmakers plan to spend more time on the campaign trail than hashing out their differences on the debt. Analysts say that's a big part of the reason why the public is so fed up with this Congress.

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