Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

December 29, 2012

Local residents hopeful lawmakers will reach agreement

BLUEFIELD —  Law-makers representing West Virginia and Virginia have stated that they are “optimistic” about reaching an agreement that keeps the nation from going off the “fiscal cliff” that would trigger tax increases and spending cuts. Area residents are hoping that Congress is right to be optimistic.

Members of Congress must reach an agreement by Dec. 31. Some local residents said they are not very worried about Congress not meeting this deadline, but they hoped that meaningful action would be taken.

“I’m not concerned about it,” said Bob Schiflett, 54, of Bluefield. “They’ll find a way to do it, but they need to make the cuts in areas where there is excess.”

One possible area for cuts is the salaries of elected officials, he suggested. The president receives an annual $450,000 salary and benefits for life, and a member of the House of Representatives receives $175,000 annually, Schiflett said. In contrast, a person relying on Social Security receives an average of $12,000 a year, and a person serving with the armed forces in Afghanistan earns about $35,000 a year.

“Yes, it always concerns a person,” Delmas Devor, 75, of Bluefield, said. “Anything that has to do with the economy concerns a person. I think they will come up with some kind of deal. It may not be the deal, but some kind of compromise.”

A Virginia resident said it was time for members of Congress to put politics aside and work out a deal that benefits the nation’s citizens.

“Definitely. I think that they should consider everybody else and not leave people hanging, especially if they want to be re-elected,” said Crystal Hylton, 38, of Bland, Va.

One McDowell County resident pointed out that going over the fiscal cliff will do more than raise taxes. It could also end unemployment benefits to people who have no other income.

“It cuts off people’s unemployment,” said Paul Williams, 56, of Northfork. “I’m retired, but it will affect all the community. I think they need to get that (federal budget) settled. It bothers me that things are so bad. Can’t they just get it done and stop giving people a headache?”

Both political parties seem to be more worried about politics than reaching an agreement, a Mercer County woman said.

“It seems they’re more involved with their political interests and can’t set aside their differences,” said Kimberly McClure, 47, of Bluefield.

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