Obama remark gives sequestration hope
AIA president Marion Blakey is cautiously optimistic that sequestration will be averted. (Photo courtesy AIA).
President Barack Obama's comment in the Oct. 22 debate about sequestration -- that the automatic spending cuts set for Jan. 2 "will not happen" – raised eyebrows in both the public and private sectors. But Marion Blakey, President and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association, saw the remark as cause for optimism, however cautious.
Noting that GOP nominee Mitt Romney "criticized both the first round of the budget control acts and the defense sequester," Blakey said on Oct. 23 that "it was good to hear the issue of defense spending addressed in a bit more detail and length and the issue of sequestration."
With sequestration some 70 days away, Blakey said that both Congress and the Administration need to come together after the elections, sit down and start discussing a solution. "I think that the consequences of this are so grave, that both sides understand that there is too much at stake to continue to deal only in rhetoric," she said.
"The president said sequestration was not his idea, that Congress had proposed it, and what I think really has caused a tremendous reaction around Washington, he said that sequestration ‘will not happen,'" Blakey said. "Obviously this is something that we find encouraging…If sequestration is not to happen, it has to be on the basis of compromise, both within the Congress as well as the administration."
Sequestration is part of the Budget Control Act, which passed in 2011 with bipartisan support, including the vote of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), now Romney's running mate.
Blakey and the AIA have been warning against the perils of sequestration almost since the Budget Control Act was passed. Blakey said repeatedly over the summer that mass layoffs could result, and was among the industry officials who publicized the possibility that contractors would be required under the WARN Act to notify workers of possible dismissal in the days before the November elections.
Emily Cole is an editorial intern for FCW.