A large group of government contractors gathered in northern Virginia Monday to urge Congress to act before damaging automatic budget cuts take place.
According to a recent report, Virginia could lose as many as 200,000 jobs if the cuts go through. The report shows Virginia would be the second most-affected state with D.C. and Maryland also in the Top 10.
If Congress can't agree on budget cuts by the end of the year, sequestration -- as it’s called -- would then bring $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts that would hit hard in the defense industry, especially in Virginia. Northrop Grumman workers told News4 it's not so much their jobs they are concerned about but the impact on the industry and the troops they support.
“I've got two sons on active duty,” Bruce Wells said. “It’s personal for me in terms of the kind of work we do. Some of the things that our company does helps them do what they need to do.”
“I think we care enough about our country that we’re here to send a loud message that we need to protect our jobs and stop the madness,” Sandra Evers-Manly said.
At Fairfax County-based Salient Federal Solutions, a command center is used to match employees with defense contract requirements, but CEO Brad Antle says even the threat of the automatic cuts is already affecting business decisions and hiring. He hopes Monday’s rally at the Crystal City Hotel will reach members of Congress
“I hope it will bring to light to members of Congress that this is a serious issue that’s impacting the business community today, and it’s going to have devastating impacts not just in Virginia but across the country and really get them to realize that this isn’t just something inside the Beltway,” he said. “This is something that affects the nation, and it’s going to affect our economy.”
Virginia elected leaders from both parties joined the plea to Congress to act sooner rather than later.
“We need to stop sequestration, and we need to stop it now -- not after the election, not push us to the cliff after an election,” Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell said.
“For the sake of the country,” Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., said, “can we not come together, give up our respective orthodoxies and get something done for the American people?”