mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Government Contract Cuts Could Hurt Obama in Virginia

If Congress fails to reach agreement on a deficit reduction plan (which looks increasingly likely), automatic budget cuts—to the tune of $1.2 trillion—will kick in on January 2, 2013. The cuts may become a key issue for voters in northern Virginia, whose jobs depend on government contracts, and there is an interesting partisan twist. Defense spending is slated to take a particularly hard hit.

The Washington Post reports:

Managers of Pentagon programs may be more likely to end contracts if the automatic cuts occur, according to a survey of 50 Pentagon officials by Myles Walton, a Boston-based analyst at Deutsche Bank Securities.

More than a quarter of the respondents said they believed there was as high as a 50 percent chance that they would terminate programs because of the automatic cuts, he wrote in a May 7 note to clients.

Uncertainty about cuts poses a challenge for the Obama campaign, which will need high turnout from the federal employees and contractors in northern Virginia to win the state again. Even if Congress does reach a deal to avert sequestration cuts, Romney stands to gain from speculation that his administration will be friendlier to those who rely on defense and intelligence spending.

Look for the Romney campaign to use this issue to horn in on the Obama lead in the DC burbs. The Pentagon and Langley are both in Northern Virginia, as is much of the military-industrial-contractor complex. A little weakness in the northern burbs, and purple Virginia may well go red.

Features Icon
show comments
  • Jim.

    Just put together some bills that challenge the Defense side of sequestration. Pay for them with Medicaid reforms, and cuts to DoE, perhaps.

    Get Democrats up to and including Obama on the record on this topic…. it should flip more than just Virginia.

  • thibaud

    This is really pathetic – a new low for the Tea Partiers.

    Even GOP senators in southern states are now admitting that the whole reason for this mess is the brinksmanship of the Tea Party-whipped GOP leadership.

    It is the GOP alone that bears the blame for this foolish and grossly irresponsible stunt – what one of the GOP’s own leaders calls “the most irresponsible approach to defense in modern times.”

    Here’s the senior GOP senator from South Carolina from just a few weeks ago on this mess:

    “We need to have a discussion among ourselves: Where the hell is the Republican Party going?” he lamented.

    Expressing dismay at the very emergence of the sequestration agreement, he noted, “in this deal, to try to bring about some fiscal sanity, we had as the penalty what I believe to be the most irresponsible approach to defense in modern times and our Republican fingerprints are on that.”

  • Jim.

    Any fair-minded agreement should have involved across-the-board cuts rather than cuts targeted at Defense.

  • Gerald Owens

    The Tea party congressmen did the right thing by demanding cutbacks: it was the blue RINO Republicans who agreed to the imbalanced pattern of the cuts.

    By the way, Thibaud: what about the Obama administration telling employers they don’t have to abide by the Law in handing out warning pink slips, which would be due a few days before the election?

  • thibaud

    It is beyond dishonest to blame anyone but the Tea Party zealots for this mess. Shame on Walter Mead for perpetuating the lie that this is not due to TP obstructionism.

    At least there are still some GOP leaders with enough honesty and sense of public duty to recognize this.

    The GOP needs more such men and women of courage and common sense who will call out this Tea Party madness the way William F Buckley called out the Brother John Birchers.

  • Tim

    thibaud you are so wrong.

    The blame goes to all of Congress and Obama together. They all did this. Each was stuck on their party line and the other side was going to back down or else, no compromise from any of them! They thought it would win them votes. They didn’t and it appears they still do not give a rip about common sense!

    Well we are stuck with these losers and as usual I for one will be voting for least worst! I’ve been voing in every election since 1987 and not once have I voted FOR a president. In this case I’ll be voting against the party that has proven they can’t handle my tax money the most, Democrats!

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service