BRISTOL, Va. - Newly re-elected Congressman Morgan Griffith says he is continuing to fight for his constituents, especially when it comes to coal.
"Some of it will be the same kind of things I worked on before: regulation, reform, trying to roll back some of the EPA regulations. We'll continue to do that," he told us Thursday.
But a pending fiscal cliff is taking top priority for Griffith and other members of congress.
What is the fiscal cliff? It's described as a combination of allowing tax cuts to expire and across-the-board government spending cuts, a last-resort if both sides cannot reach an agreement.
Certified financial planner Lois Carrier helped us break down what's at stake. "The president can move toward Congress and be willing to work out something. Congress can decide to work out something, Congress can decide to work together and work with him, or we go over the cliff," she explained.
Carrier says going over the so-called cliff could have a big economic impact. "Me being the optimist, I can imagine if we walked up to a physical cliff. we're hiking and we come to a cliff, we don't just jump off we figure, 'ok. there's a way to get down here.' We may be using a rope or whatever," she said.
Congressman Griffith realizes there may be some compromise on the horizon. We asked if he had it his way, what would he do? "Continue all Bush-era tax cuts. I think that is best for the economy, but that's not going to happen. We lost the election on Tuesday, so now what we have to do is try to find out what can happen," he said. "What makes the most sense and won't bring a financial, falling off that fiscal cliff."
Compromise may be something lawmakers like Griffith are going to have to do a lot of. He says he's aware of that and hopes both sides understand they may have to do some adjusting, without losing site of their core values. "We need to get some things done and some things accomplished to make sure that this country operates as well as it can. Now it's going to be difficult, but we can do it," he said.
A government report says the fiscal cliff would send the economy back into a recession and could cause a spike in the jobless rate by next fall. To avoid going off the so-called cliff Congress will have to act on this by the end of the year.