White House Press Secretary: Up to Congress to fix looming sequestration

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by Mike Gooding, 13News

WVEC.com

Posted on February 12, 2013 at 8:08 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 21 at 1:08 PM

NORFOLK--White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says it’s up to Congress to fix the problem of looming sequestration and the massive $470 billion in automatic defense cuts that could begin on March 1.

According to an Old Dominion University economic forecast, Hampton Roads stands to lose more than 28,000 jobs in the next three years if the sequester process kicks in.

Navy leaders told senators Tuesday that maintenance work on the USS Theodore Roosevelt would have to temporarily stop. The aircraft carrier is undergoing a mid-life overhaul and nuclear refueling at Newport News Shipbuilding.

Last week, the Navy announced it would also stop a similar contract on the USS Abraham Lincoln, also at Newport News Shipbuilding.

In addition, the Navy canceled the scheduled deployment of the Norfolk-based USS Harry S. Truman last week.

Citing budgetary concerns the Navy canceled planned maintenance contracts on eight local guided missile destroyers and a local amphibious assault ship.

Leaders at the Virginia Ship Repair Association, a consortium of more than 250 local ship repair firms, sub-contractors and suppliers, representing more than 40,000 employees,  told 13News it’s possible some workers could receive notifications of furloughs or layoffs between February 15 and February 18.

“What the president is asking is that Congress buy down the sequester, a few months, to give itself more time to come up with a bigger deal, because this would be an unnecessary self-inflicted wound to our economy” Carney told 13 News. “He does not want this to happen. Congress has to pass a law. Congress needs to prevent it from happening.”

Carney went on to say he is “hopeful common sense will prevail.”

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