Obama: Cuts immediate, painful, arbitrary

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — About 2,500 people showed up to hear President Obama speak at Newport News Shipbuilding about the looming sequester and what it means for the area.

Photos: President Obama in Newport News

Prior to his speech, the president received a tour of Newport News Shipbuilding by Huntington Ingalls president Mike Petters and shipyard president Mall Mulherin.


“The Sequester will damage our American economy, our military readiness, and programs we depend on every single day,” the President told a group of 2,500 gathered in the Submarine Module Outfitting Facility at Newport News Shipbuilding. "So we can avoid laying people off, or kicking kids off Head Start, or cutting financial aid for colleges students. I don't think that is too much to ask. I don't think that is partisan. We need to get this done. I am not interested in spin. I am not interested in the blame game.”

Watch: President Obama's full speech

Sequestration will go into effect March 1 if Congress cannot come to an agreement on the budget. This will result in devastating cuts across the country.

"I need you to keep up the fight. If you do, Congress will listen. If you stand up, and together unleash your potential, they will listen to the people who build the greatest ships on earth," Pres. Obama said.

Congressman Randy Forbes (R-VA) responded to Obama's speech in Newport News.

"I'm not asking anyone to compromise their principals, I'm just saying can we sit in a room and talk instead of going out with press conferences and beating each other up," Forbes said.

Full coverage: Federal Budget

Last week, 1,600 BAE Systems employees in Norfolk received WARN notices ahead of the sequester.

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