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U.S. House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) arrive for a news conference November 16, 2011, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The news conference was to call on the Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, also known as the super committee, "to go big on deficit reduction."
Some of the region's lawmakers are trying to pressure the super committee to exceed its goal of cutting $1.2 trillion from the debt, but the special panel remains gridlocked as it nears an end date.
If the super committee fails to reach a bipartisan agreement by next Wednesday, deep spending cuts are supposed to slice through the entire federal budget, which could hit the D.C. region especially hard. Some lawmakers want to scrap that agreement to protect the Pentagon's budget and other favorite spending items.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said Congress needs to step up and pass a broad deficit-reducing package. He said it's foolish to walk back the earlier bi-partisan agreement that includes automatic spending cuts.
"Failure can't be an option," Warner said. "The whole rest of the world is watching and the notion of what's happening in Europe and their lack of stepping up, we can't have a repeat of that here."
As of now the committee can't even agree on how to cut $1 trillion from the debt. Warner and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) are urging the panel to cut around $4 trillion over the next decade.
"We have the greatest chance we've seen in a generation to strike a bold agreement that will move us forward on a sustainable fiscal path and spur economic recovery," Hoyer said.
If the super committee fails, Virginia and Maryland risk downgrades to their bond ratings, which would make it more expensive for the region to borrow money for capital improvement projects.