DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. -- Roz Navarra gets weary at the thought of that the federal government could go into default if Congress doesn't reach a debt ceiling agreement by Tuesday, but she believes the government simply can't afford to not get an agreement done.
"I don't think [the default] is going to happen," said senior citizen Navarra, a Dobbs Ferry resident of 40 years. "They don't want to face the wrath of seniors. They don't want us marching with our walkers and wheelchairs."
Democrats and Republicans have been jostling to get a deal done to raise the debt limit, but local communities may not be directly affected.
"It wouldn't affect us in any way," said Dobbs Ferry Village Administrator Marcus Serrano.
Serrano did leave the door open for potential impact down the line though.
"We get state aid so if the federal government doesn't pay the state then it might affect us," he said.
If, in fact, Democrats and Republicans cannot end their bitter stand-off before Tuesday's deadline, local representatives fear the worst, but have assured their constituents that Social Security and Medicare will be taken care of.
"The treasury will still be able to pay our sovereign debt obligations," said Congresswoman Nan Hayworth (R -- Mount Kisco) of New York's 19th District.
Hayworth said the local governments and organizations in Westchester County will most likely feel the pinch with things such as Community Development Block Grants. She said the treasury department would have to prioritize its payments and items such as Social Security, Medicaid and military paychecks would likely be at the top of the list, not grants.
"Some might have to give an IOU to their local contractors if they're willing to take one," she said.
Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D - Harrison), of New York's 18th District said failure to raise the debt ceiling could result in higher interest rates that could impact the cost of mortgages and credit card payments.
"Families could lose thousands of dollars from retirement savings and investments," she said. "It is clear that Congress and the president must agree to a plan that ends the default crisis and includes responsible spending reductions that do not balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable Americans."New York State Senator Greg Ball (R, C Patterson) said the fallout would be especially trying for the state because he feels New York does not rebound quickly from fiscal crisis.
"Historically, New York State takes twice as long to recover from an economic downturn," he said. "So, any recovery caused by this would be doubly hard. It would go beyond lost grant money. It would cause a problem balancing the state budget. It's odd that Washington is making Albany look good right now. But all I can say is this would be devastating at both the state and local level."
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