Residents of Virginia Beach may be getting more than they expect from President Barack Obama when he makes a campaign stop there Friday, conservative lawmakers said.
“What does the president bring with him, he has a huge box of pink slips he’s going to distribute across Virginia,” Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) said during a Thursday morning conference call.
The Budget Control Act, signed by Obama last year, will cut over $500 billion from defense spending over the next decade, beginning on the first of next year. According to a new study by the National Association of Manufacturers released last month, Virginia stands to lose 115,000 jobs under the “sequestration” measure by 2014, putting the state second only to California in projected economic loss.
“Since I enlisted in the service in 1964, I have never seen anything quite so irresponsible,” said former Navy secretary John Lehman, discussing the cuts.
Though Congress passed the sequestration measure as a bipartisan effort to motivate lawmakers find budget cuts in a timely fashion, Forbes, who did not vote for the bill, said that Obama bore an extra portion of the responsibility. The president agreed to a measure that threatened national security as commander in chief, Forbes said, and has since threatened to veto a series of Republican bills that would avert the sequester by cutting other spending measures.
GOP strategist Chris LaCivita told Human Events last month that Obama’s reelection would “start and end” through the historical battleground region of Virginia Beach and Hampton Roads, the heart of Virginia’s massive defense contracting industry.
Layoffs, Lehman said, were already beginning at small subcontracting companies that anticipated the curtailment of large defense contracts at the start of 2013.
But Forbes said those outside the defense industry should be worried as well.
“It’s not just about defense contractors. It’s also going to have a huge impact on beauty salons, restaurants, car dealers, the whole economy,” he said.
Obama plans to make stops in Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach, and Roanoke Friday before moving through other parts of Virginia on Saturday. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani will make an appearance at a veterans’ rally in Virginia Beach Thursday afternoon to campaign for Republican challenger Mitt Romney.j