Bob McDonnell, Virginia governor, says looming sequestration cuts need to be stopped

6:03 PM, Jul 30, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) - If you haven't heard the word "sequestration" yet, you need to know it could affect you and our local economy in a bad way.

It refers to looming, massive budget cuts that were never meant to go into effect. It could mean 2-million job losses across the country and more than 160,000 job losses here in the Washington area.

A few hundred employees who work for local defense contractors are rallying to save their jobs and stop massive cuts in their industry. It's called the "Rally to Stop Sequestration."

"We need to stop sequestration and stop it now," Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell told the crowd.

McDonnell kept his speech non-partisan, though the looming sequestration cuts, 1.2 trillion across the board, are the result of congressional Republicans and Democrats unable to compromise.

"This is a pathetic way to legislate," said Jim Dineger, President and CEO of the Washington Board of Trade.

A year ago, Congress passed the threatening measure called sequestration. It was meant to put pressure on the super committee to come up with a plan. But the super committee failed to do anything, and those cuts are coming Jan. 2 if Congress doesn't act.

Democrat Gerry Connolly from Fairfax said, "This problem will go away if there's balance." He blames the Republicans for not agreeing to increase revenue.

Because of the high number of federal jobs and defense contractors, the Washington area would be hit hard, and could lose 161 thousand jobs, according to economist Stephen Fuller with GMU's Center for Regional Analyst.

Even though the sequestration cuts wouldn't take effect until Jan.2, there are already repercussions. Defense contractors are required to send notice to employees whom they plan to let go at least 60 days beforehand, so notices may be going out in the next few months, if Congress doesn't stop sequestration.

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