2013 Budget

Obama remark gives sequestration hope

Marion Blakey AIA president

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.

About the Author

Emily Cole is an editorial intern for FCW.

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Reader comments

Thu, Oct 25, 2012

Congress is so worried about the impact of sequestration on defense, industry, and the general public that it's off campaigning to save its own collective hide, rather than doing the hard work of preventing the tumble over the cliff. It was President Obama's APPOINTEE at Labor who advised contractors to violate the WARN Act, and promised to indemnify them against any ensuing litigation--itself an apparent Anti-Deficiency Act violation (unless they've secretly appropriated funds from the FY 2013 budget for that purpose). It was DoD--of whom the President is Commander-in-Chief--that ordered its personnel not to behave as though sequestration were impending. What do you suppose the political repercussions would be, if Obama then admitted that it was going to happen?

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 Fred

Of course president Obama is not king Obama so he can't MAKE anything happen. Sounds like a campaign promise he has no ability to make happen anyway. Congress has to agree and the president has to accept their agreement as his own and sign it into law like he did the sequestration in the first place.. Sounds like a long shot to me. Either they will all agree on cuts or cuts will happen per the sequestration law he signed last year. Though painful in the short term, cuts will put us in a better financial situation as a result.

Wed, Oct 24, 2012

I, for one, hope it does happen. Pol's (on both sides of the aisle) should be ashamed. It's a constitutional requirement that our gov't should have an annual budget and stick to it. Instead, we get continuing resolution after continuing resolution that takes us from one election to the next. This is a horrible way to govern. Perhaps feeling the pain of these cuts will remind them what their job is. While we're at it, let's get an amendment passed that requires the Fed to have a balanced budget and eliminate the debt we are passing along to future generations.

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