Budget uncertainty in Washington trickles down to Hampton Roads

Posted at 1:46 PM, Apr 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-26 18:29:09-04

NORFOLK, Va. -- Amidst more budget uncertainty, local leaders say the unpredictability is trickling down to Hampton Roads.

Reports on Capitol Hillsuggest the threat of a government shutdown appears to be lowering, but the leaders say the continuing roller coaster isn't helping the Commonwealth. "It makes companies unsure about investing long term because they're not sure about the economic future," Gov. Terry McAuliffe said on WTOP Radio on Wednesday morning. "Congress is highly dysfunctional and we don't know what they're going to do."

Congress is likely to pass a resolution to continue funding the government beyond Friday, Sen. Tim Kaine said, but he and others say that's not a long term solution. "Congress has been enacting continuing resolutions for years now. This hurts, among other things, multi-year defense projects, thus reducing predictability and driving up costs in the long term," Rep. Scott Taylor said in a statement. Taylor is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

Norfolk Public Schools sent notices to approximately 400 staff members explaining how the budget uncertainty could affect their jobs, a school division spokesperson told News 3. Those staff members' positions are funded through grants. The division hasn't been told how much money it will get from the federal government and wanted to notify employees of their status, the spokesperson said. This does not mean any of them will lose their jobs, she added.

The area's shipyard industry could also be impacted. Bill Crow from the Virginia Ship Repair Association said the uncertainty could affect military readiness because qualified workers will look elsewhere for work. "[The workers] all have lives. They all have families. They need to put food on the table," Crow said.