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As States Assess Shutdown Fallout, Lawmakers Want A Plan

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Sens. Warner and Cardin are calling for a budget agreement well ahead of the January deadline.
Matt Laslo
Sens. Warner and Cardin are calling for a budget agreement well ahead of the January deadline.

The government’s lights were only recently flipped back on, and the damage is being assessed, but lawmakers in the region are already warning about the possibilities of another showdown.

Calculating the shutdown effects

Government workers garnered a lot of attention during the 16-day partial shutdown. But Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) says they were only part of the story.

"They got their back pay, but I can assure you the motel owner on the Skyline Drive in Virginia who lost peak weekends in the Fall foliage because of concerns about the park being closed, the restaurant owner outside of NASA Langley who lost weeks of revenues, the government contractor who's still uncertain about whether they're going to get reimbursed," Warner says.

It's still unclear how much the shutdown cost the region, but analysts say it took about $24 billion out of the U.S. economy. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) says that sets the region back.

"We got hurt bad by this shutdown and it's going to take us awhile to get back to where we need to be as a result of this self-inflicted wound to our country," Cardin says.

Preventing a shutdown repeat

Warner has been calling for a grand budget bargain for years now, but after the last stalemate on Capitol Hill, he’s now ready to settle for even a one-year bill to fund the government.

"While we’re a week later and moving on to other issues I think it’s important to reinforce the enormous damage that has been done to our economy by this lurching from one crisis to another," Warner says.

This week a bipartisan group of lawmakers from both chambers of Congress held their first public meeting to try and resolve differences over spending priorities. Cardin says it’s vital they come up with a blueprint that averts another battle on Capitol Hill.

"It’s critically important that we get a budget and we don’t go towards another potential shutdown or another potential default on our debt," Cardin says.

Lawmakers only have until Jan. 15 to figure out their differences on the budget and the House is scheduled to be out of town next week.

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