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Senators: Stop-gap funding could cost Virginia millions

Virginia's two U.S. Senators said constantly relying on continuing resolutions could cost the Commonwealth hundreds of millions of dollars.

WASHINGTON — The Senate voted 65-27 Thursday to pass another continuing resolution, funding government through March 11.

For 12 of the past 13 fiscal years, including this one, the federal government has operated temporarily under a continuing resolution.

But Virginia's two senators say constantly relying on continuing resolutions as a stop-gap method to fund government operations could cost the Commonwealth hundreds of millions of dollars.

"I've described that as driving while looking through the rearview mirror because you're just using last year's budget and putting it on auto-pilot," said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia).

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia) said the lack of a proper, year-long appropriations bill would be very costly.

"If we don't go ahead and do a spending bill for this year and instead simply maintain last year's budget, Virginia would lose hundreds of millions of dollars just on roads," he said.

According to the senators' offices, Virginia could lose $324 million in roads and bridges funding, $53 million in transit funding. Additionally, $37 billion in defense funding expected under a FY22 spending bill could be lost.

That would mean all new military construction projects will be halted, permanent change-of-station moves for service members and families will be delayed or suspended, and ship maintenance at public and private yards could be deferred.

Additionally, under a long-term continuing resolution, Portsmouth would not receive $199,000 to address community violence. And, the Army Corps of Engineers could not begin work on a study to analyze the flood risk from sea-level rise and coastal storms accelerated by climate change.

Tidewater Community College Business Professor Peter Shaw said it's pure stupidity. 

"I mean, to have a continuing resolution or a series of continuing resolutions is just reckless fiscal policy," he said. "If you're the Defense Department and you've got this $600 million organism that you've got to operate, you need to know one, two, three years out what resources you have for the defense of the nation."