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With Debt Deal Reached, Now What?


After watching lawmakers go back and forth in Washington for months, a debt ceiling decision was finally made Tuesday. Now many people are wondering what comes next.

Many Redmond seniors said Wednesday they’re relieved to get their Social Security check, but worried about the long-term effects of the budget cuts.

NewsChannel 21 financial analyst Bill Valentine of Valentine Ventures in Bend says the country is in for a long ride before getting back on track.

“In the short term, there’s almost going to be no effect,” Valentine said. “No one will notice anything from the mess of the last month.”

After political clashes, the real work begins. Lawmakers must decide how much money will be cut from which programs.

“These are things that have to be debated,” Valentine said. “They didn’t do any of that in the first round. The first round said ‘X’ amount of dollars of cuts, let’s us raise the ceiling ‘X’ amount of dollars. It’s dollars for dollars.”

Up on the chopping block are Medicare and Medicaid. Not knowing if benefits will be slashed is causing some anticipation among those who need it.

“The biggie is medicare,” said Redmond senior Tom Azbell. “I’ve had to use that in the past year and without it, I’d be in really big trouble.”

For some, getting their Social Security check Wednesday was a relief after lawmakers pushed it right up to the deadline.

“There’s a lot of seniors out there that if it wasn’t for Social Security, they would be on the streets, living in cardboard boxes,” Redmond senior Sharon Cummings said. “I would be the same way.”

For many who were worried about Social Security checks, or are now bracing for what comes next, experts say the deal made was not enough.

“The irony to this is that rating agencies and economist in general, believe we’re not going to feel enough,” Valentine said. “The hope was that going through all that mess, was to come out with a bigger agreement than what was ultimately passed.”

Now it is back to the negotiations of cuts. After watching the debt ceiling debate, many say they know what to expect.

“They go right up to the deadline, just like this debt ceiling,” Azbell said. “Then, oh boy, right at the last minute, the Lone Ranger rides in and makes it all better and solves the problem.”

The next fiscal year starts on Oct. 1, and legislators are far from putting together a spending plan. Experts believe lawmakers have to get their spending cuts in order by the end of September.

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