Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) along with congressional delegates from the same state and defense industry executives staged a rally yesterday against the possibility of sequestration, warning that if the draconian budget measure takes effect it could have devastating economic consequences across the country.
McDonnell said sequestration would cost his state more than 120,000 jobs and urged congressional Democrats and Republicans to work through their differences and resolve the issue sooner rather than later.
"We need to stop it now – not after the election," McDonnell told the rally of about 300 people at a hotel just outside Washington. He added looming sequestration has brought "unprecedented uncertainty" to the defense industry that could result in having to notify employees of potential job losses.
The Pentagon is already facing $480 billion in reduced defense spending over the next 10 years, but if lawmakers and the White House cannot agree on a blueprint for reining in the national deficit and debt by January, the cuts in defense spending could more than double under the sequestration measure in the Budget Control Act of 2011.
Northrop Grumman [NOC] announced plans last week to stage the rally. Northrop Grumman, along with General Dynamics [GD], is one of the two major defense firms headquartered in Virginia. ATK [ATK] also recently moved its headquarters to the state.
Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush also sought to remind the crowd that sequestration would severely impact other areas of the government outside the Pentagon, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and air traffic control.
"The effects of sequestration are terrible," he said.
Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), called on Democrats and Republicans alike to work toward finding a compromise to prevent the "extraordinary destructive" effects of sequestration and to "stop this insanity." He was joined on stage by fellow Virginia representatives Gerry Connolly (D), Frank Wolf (R) and Robert Scott (D). Marion Blakey, the head of the Aerospace Industries Association, also addressed the gathering.