Budget deal could mean big boost to Hampton Roads

The bipartisan Senate budget deal would mean millions of dollars in new defense spending that would ripple throughout the local economy.

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC)--  The bipartisan Senate budget deal would mean millions of dollars in new defense spending that would ripple throughout the local economy.

After years of temporary spending measures, the deal hammered out by Senate leaders would result in an actual two-year budget that includes a massive increase to the military, by hiking spending caps by 21 percent.

ODU economics professor Bob McNab said the Hampton Roads economy would benefit greatly.

"It's excellent news for Hampton Roads," he said. "We'll see an immediate bump in defense spending this fiscal year. And of that bump, we would expect several billion dollars to land in Hampton Roads over the next six months. The immediate effect would be a lift in economic activity, so we'd see more people hired. We'd see more ships being repaired. We see more aircraft being repaired. More activity overall in the defense sector in Hampton Roads."

President Trump is now voicing support for the deal, tweeting: "It ends the dangerous sequester and gives Secretary Mattis what he needs to keep America great."

But in the House, conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats have balked at the deal.

And if there are enough "no" votes there, the whole deal could fall apart.

Which, McNab says, would be a very bad thing for the Hampton Roads economy.

"If midnight comes and it all falls apart, then we'd be back to another partial shutdown," he said. "The last shutdown, even though it was over a weekend, we still estimate that cost Hampton Roads over $100 million in economic activity. These are not small events when the government shuts down for Hampton  Roads."

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