NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) spent Tuesday at Newport News Shipbuilding, discussing how budget uncertainty and sequester cuts could impact construction.
The stop is part of the senator's 3-day tour of Virginia meeting with members of the military and discussing sequestration.
"I feel for the folks here whose jobs could be on the line," Kaine told a group gathered at Huntington Ingalls Industries. "There is no reason we shouldn't be able to fix this. This March deadline is completely artificial. It has no bearing on any decision about the security of the world or the state of the economy."
But the Navy's decision to delay the refueling and overhaul of the USS Abraham Lincoln could have a huge impact on the well-being of Newport News Shipbuilding.
"If there is not a resolution that allows that ship to start in Fiscal Year 2013, then I think it will affect our workforce," Huntington Ingalls Industries President and CEO Mike Petters said.
"Quite naturally, we're concerned about the impact that it would have," Vice President of the Steel Workers Union Fred Redmond said. "we're talking about people in outlying communities, we're talking about local restaurants, dry cleaners... we're talking about barber shops, we're talking about just local merchants in the area that could be greatly affected."
Kaine, who took office in January, is a new member of the Armed Services Committee and has shown opposition to the sequester cuts, which are set to begin March 1.
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