There is growing concern across the region over federal spending cuts leading to sequestration and the impact it will have on local jobs and families.
Take a look around Northern Virginia and you’ll find defense companies lining the landscape and plenty of workers nervously looking across the river.
The $1.2 trillion in across-the-board cuts are set to take effect in March if Congress doesn’t act. Half the cuts would hit the Pentagon, leaving defense contractors unable to plan for the future because of all the uncertainty.
Virginia Senator Tim Kaine is hearing from contractors who use words like “uncertainty,” “chaos” and “madness.” He believes the furloughs, layoffs and programs slashed could hurt national security.
“If we don’t want it to happen it doesn’t have to happen,” says Senator Kaine. “We’re a month away and we can find an alternative.”
While the movement to prevent the sequestration cuts is gaining momentum, so too is a belief that in the end Congress will allow the cuts to take place.
“It troubles me when I read so many people saying, ‘Well I guess the sequester is going to happen,’” says Senator Kaine.
“I think it is going to happen at this point,” says Darren Samuelsohn, the senior policy reporter for POLITICO.
He says some in Congress hope a deal doesn’t get done.
“In the last few weeks you see Tea Party republicans, freshman and sophomores, standing up on cutting spending and they don’t really care it’s the Pentagon. They want to make the cuts,” says Samuelsohn.
Contractors in Virginia think Congress will avoid yet another fiscal cliff, but when it comes to Washington, nothing feels certain.