With just under two weeks until federal sequestration cuts are set to go into effect Gov. Bob McDonnell sent a letter to President Barack Obama Monday urging the president to find away to avert the arbitrary federal spending cuts that are expected to hit Virginia particularly hard.
"As we all know, the defense, and other, cuts in the sequester were designed to be a hammer, not a real policy," McDonnell wrote. "Unfortunately, inaction by you and Congress now leaves states and localities to adjust to the looming threat of this haphazard idea."
The $1.2 trillion in sequestration cuts -- roughly half of which come from defense spending -- were put in place as part of a deal in the summer of 2011 to raise the nation's debt ceiling. The cuts were supposed to take effect Jan. 1 after a congressional super committee was unable to avert them in Nov. 2011, but were put off until March 1 to give lawmakers more time to reach a deal.
Because of Virginia's heavy reliance on federal contracts and military spending McDonnell wrote that the commonwealth is expected to lose approximately 164,000 jobs should the sequestration cuts take effect.
"Northern Virginia will absorb more than 60 percent of these losses, Hampton Roads approximately 20 percent, and Richmond 12 percent," McDonnell wrote.
Already, the Navy has said it will delay overhaul projects on two aircraft carriers, and air shows have been canceled in Virginia Beach and at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton.
McDonnell asked Obama to "deliver" on a promise he made during his third presidential debate last October with GOP nominee Mitt Romney that the sequestration cuts would not be allowed to go into effect.
"In order to mitigate the negative impacts as effectively and as quickly as possible, and to ensure a continued robust economy in Virginia, it is critical that you lead Mr. President, and that you work with Congress to come together in the best interests of the nation, and produce the necessary legislation to avoid the disastrous effects of this ill-conceived policy," McDonnell wrote.
On Friday nine of Virginia's 13 members of Congress sent a similar letter to Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner, urging the three to find a compromise to avoid the across-the-board budget cuts.
U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and U.S. Reps. Scott Rigell, R-Virginia Beach, Robert C. "Bobby" Scott, D-Newport News, Rob Wittman, R-Westmoreland, J. Randy Forbes, R-Chesapeake, Frank Wolf, R-Vienna, Jim Moran, D-Arlington, and Gerry Connolly, D-Fairfax, urged the president and Congressional leaders to find a compromise to avert the cuts.
"We stand ready to work hand-in-hand to negotiate an agreement to avert these cuts that threaten grave consequences for the commonwealth, our federal government, and our national security," they wrote.
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