Sen. Kaine discusses defense cuts, sequester in Arlington
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, met on Monday with more than two dozen defense contractors in Northern Virginia to discuss the possible impact of sequester cuts on the defense industry and on Northern Virginia’s economy, as well as ongoing uncertainty over the current year’s appropriations.
During the roundtable, Kaine listened to the ideas and concerns of industry leaders and renewed his commitment to averting drastic across-the-board reductions to defense and other key priorities that could threaten national security and cost nearly 200,000 jobs in Virginia.
“It troubles me when I read about people who are resigned to the sequester occurring. Most of the pessimism I’m reading is coming from folks on the House side,” Kaine said. “Some who want it to happen and some who don’t want it to happen but are worried that it will. There’s nothing magic about it – we don’t have to sit back and let it happen if it’s a bad thing. I will continue to explore ways to avert the sequester cuts with Virginia businesses like the ones represented here today.”
According to the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Congressional Budget Office, more than a million jobs will be at risk if the March 1 sequestration cuts go into effect. The event, hosted by Dynamis, an Arlington-based defense contractor, included a diverse group of defense contractors of all sizes who were able to provide insight on how their businesses have already been affected by uncertainty surrounding budget appropriations for this year.
“Tough decisions are best made as part of an ordinary budget process rather than a one-off sequester that no one ever thought was a good idea. Why would we want to do that at the same time we’re about to be engaging in an orderly budget process? I’m struck by that and hope we can align them better,” said Kaine. “We don’t have to just be resigned to accept the sequester. We should be able to try to find a better result.”
The roundtable is a continuation of Kaine’s listening tour across Virginia. At each stop, Kaine has heard firsthand from community members, business leaders, and constituents across the Commonwealth on a variety of issues as he takes on his new role. Kaine’s listening tour has made previous stops in Richmond, Danville, and Martinsville.
“I can count on maybe two fingers the number of times a politician has called me and asked how he can help rather than the other way around,” John Braun, CEO of Dynamis and host of the roundtable said of Kaine calling him to organize the event. “I’m very impressed with Senator Kaine for doing that and look forward to working with him in the Senate.”
With a hearing on sequestration expected in the Senate Armed Services Committee next week, Kaine told participants he plans to share ideas and observations from today’s discussion. As governor, Kaine helped recruit many defense contractors to Virginia including SAIC, CSC, and Northrop Grumman.