115 industry leaders sign letter to President Obama
Arlington, Va. - Four industry leaders participated in a panel discussion today at the National Press Club on the impacts of sequestration budget cuts on America's economy and national security. The panel also drew attention to a letter from aerospace and defense industry CEOs voicing support for current talks and urging President Obama to continue negotiations with Congress on immediate, bipartisan action to avert the upcoming "fiscal cliff," which the Congressional Budget Office says could drive America back into recession next year.
"Today, 115 industry leaders have signed a letter to President Obama and Congressional leaders, urging them to work together on a deal to avert sequestration and adopt an approach that addresses the country's long-term fiscal challenges," said AIA Chairman and President, Pratt & Whitney, United Technologies Corporation David P. Hess. "Sequestration has created uncertainty in the marketplace over the past year and has had a real impact on jobs, investment and innovation. Uncertainty is forcing companies to defer investments and hiring today, when we need it most. And, if sequestration goes into effect, the long-term impacts could prove devastating to our national defense, economic well-being and global competitiveness."
The panel consisted of Hess, AIA Vice Chairman and Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Northrop Grumman Corporation Wes Bush; Vice Chair, President and Chief Executive Officer of RTI International Metals, Inc. Dawne S. Hickton; and President and Chief Executive Officer of TASC David H. Langstaff.
"Sequestration would, of course, hit the aerospace and defense industry very hard as it will be difficult to address the irrational approach to these cuts in the short term," said Northrop Grumman's Bush. "But it will also have very negative impacts in the long term as it will also damage our industry's ability to attract and retain the kind of highly-trained technical talent our nation needs to help keep its technological superiority in security and defense second to none."
"By now there is no debate that sequestration poses unacceptable risks to our economic recovery and the long term security of our nation," said RTI's Hickton. "However, the direct impacts to small and mid-sized businesses, and the impact on the defense industrial base supply chain, are often overlooked in the discussion. The impact to the supply chain is just as challenging, and indeed could be even more devastating as smaller companies lack the same resources to manage through another economic downturn."
The letter which was also sent to House and Senate leadership, stated:
"The dangers of sequestration are by now well understood, with more than 2 million jobs hanging in the balance and the Joint Chiefs warning of severe damage to America's security. Accordingly, we are encouraged by the bipartisan commitment to stop sequestration and pursue a more responsible approach to our longer term fiscal challenges."
"For generations, America has prospered on a strong foundation of manufacturing excellence and technological innovation. But sequestration cuts would needlessly erode this economic bedrock, choking off critical investments in research and basic science, and forfeiting our leadership in the markets of tomorrow. It's a recipe for economic stagnation, and the worst possible way to tackle America's long-term debt."
"With the elections behind us, the time for a solution to sequestration has arrived," said AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey. "We have only 28 days to act. No more pressing issue remains on the national agenda this year."