Arlington, VA

As lawmakers in Greece could attest, tackling a large national budget deficit is a thankless job.

Either you make steep cuts that will inevitably draw the ire of many constituents, even your supporters, or you don’t cut enough and allow your country to gradually slip into the fiscal abyss.

Cognizant of the political challenges, nonprofit deficit hawks have stepped in to try to rally public support for tough budget choices by giving voters the chance to play congressman for a day — and thus experience the challenges themselves. One such exercise is coming to Arlington next week.

Rep. Jim Moran is teaming up with the nonpartisan Concord Coalition to host “Priniciples & Priorities,” described as an “interactive exercise in which participants team up to tackle the federal budget deficit by making many of the policy decisions facing lawmakers today.”

The event, which is open to members of the public who register online, will take place at the National Rural Electric Cooperative building in Ballston (4301 Wilson Boulevard), from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Monday, July 11.

Moran is not exactly known as a fiscal conservative, thanks in part to public remarks about “earmark[ing] a lot of money through the appropriations process.” Still, the long-time congressman acknowledges that “difficult choices must be made” regarding the budget.

“There are few questions as important to this country than deciding how we invest in our future without burying the next generation under a mountain of debt,” Moran said. “The Concord Coalition offers an informative program… which allows the public to take a hands on approach in determining how they would bring the budget to balance.”

“Should we increase taxes, cut programs that care for the needy, trim defense spending, limit funding for NIH research, raise the retirement age on Medicare?” Moran asked hypothetically. “These are just some of the tough choices being considered as the debate over the deficit and debt limit continues. The Principles & Priorities event gives everyone a chance to make a statement as to which direction the country should take.”

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