Sen. Kaine tours robotics firm, discusses need for budget certainty

tim kaine-newU.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Budget Committees, visited HDT Robotics today for a discussion about budget uncertainty and the need for Congress to finish FY2013 appropriations and pass an FY2014 budget.  Kaine began with a discussion on how Congress’ habit of “budgeting by crisis” has affected businesses like HDT Robotics. During a tour of the Fredericksburg defense contractor, he discussed his efforts to find opportunities to replace the deep, indiscriminate sequester spending cuts and pass a budget to increase stability.

“The inability of Congress to pass a budget and the budget gimmickry we’ve seen with the sequester have stifled the ability of our businesses to plan and have threatened essential services like national defense, education and health care,” said Kaine. “We are taking steps in the right direction now to do a budget but all sides will need to compromise in order to get something done.”

Kaine has heard from many Virginia contractors about how the sequester has affected their ability to hire and invest in their businesses.

“For us, congressional budget uncertainty means we don’t know how to adjust and have a greater difficulty investing in new workers and products,” said Brian Dearing, Vice President for Business Development for HDT. “We want to be recruiting and hiring from universities across Virginia but without knowing what financial commitments we can make, we are unable to. We wholeheartedly support any agreement that returns Congress to a regular budget process that will give us clarity.”

During his tour, Kaine witnessed a demonstration of some of the technologies developed by HDT Robotics including products to disable IEDs and protect soldiers in the field. HDT told Kaine that aside from funding, research and development tax credits are critical to their ability to develop state-of-the-art equipment to keep our service members safe.

“We saw a great report today for jobs, including in manufacturing, but we must give businesses a stable environment to grow if we want continued job growth. Congress has tried every alternative to doing it the normal way and every alternative has been proven wrong. There is no substitute for getting to a budget conference in the regular order to give businesses like HDT Robotics the guidance they need to plan for the long term,” said Kaine.

In a recent defense tour across the state, Kaine heard about how the sequester threat and budget uncertainty are already affecting Virginia. Last week he voted for a balanced proposal that would have eliminated the across-the-board cuts and replaced them with a package of half revenue, and half spending reductions. The measure earned a support of 51 senators but fell short of the 60 needed.


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