Transcript: Press briefing remarks by Marion Blakey on the impacts of sequestration on the aerospace industries

Partial transcript of remarks by Marion C. Blakey, President and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association, on the negative impacts of sequestration. The press briefing was held on Feb. 11, 2013.

…I am Marion Blakey, President and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association, and we’re very proud to represent the 1 million highly-skilled and dedicated professionals who make up the aerospace and defense workforce.

Let me get right to it by making a few comments about this crisis that we are facing.

Sequestration is a poison pill designed to force the hard but necessary decisions – the work of governing: compromise, negotiation – to reduce our deficits and our debts.

But the poison pill now threatens to have a toxic effect on our entire economy and on our national security.

We’ve been seeing the flashing warning signs – flashing code blue – that massive indiscriminate cuts to defense and other important functions of government truly do threaten our security, undermine our ability to stay ahead of the global innovation race, and will tank our fragile economy.

…The wake up call just the other day when we learned that our GDP is for the first time in 4 years going into negative territory. That’s a serious wake-up call.

Our core defense downturn has real world consequences right now, both for reducing our military might and our economic potential. And we pointed out that other government functions are affected as well.

For example, FAA’s operation of the national airspace system, NASA’s space exploration program, and NOAA’s work are necessary new satellite. These are weather satellite programs. These are sequestration’s negative impacts and they range well beyond national security…

Regarding the overall economy, about 6 months ago, we released a study conducted by Dr. Stephen Fuller of George Mason University. The study’s methodology is sound and its conclusions are grim. The study says that sequestration, if it goes forward, would put 2.1 million U.S. jobs at risk. These are defense and non-defense related jobs, and they include nearly 1 million small businesses. It will cause the unemployment to rise by 1.5% and reduce expected GDP growth by $215 billion. $215 billion.

The latest Congressional Budget Office forecast – CBO reinforces Dr. Fuller’s conclusion that sequestration will significantly undermine U.S. economic growth.

So today, we’re re-releasing Dr. Fuller’s study and his analysis of the potential economic impacts of sequestration across the nation.

Let it be noted – no one can say that they weren’t forewarned about the full consequences of this very bad policy. And this morning to emphasize the urgency of this situation, we’ll be delivering to literally every member of Congress and the White House a letter signed by nearly 140 of our CEOs and this is in addition to the letter that NDD United will be delivering as well. These are the CEOs of aerospace and defense companies and we’re urging Congress and the President to work now on a balanced bipartisan solution to sequestration.

The letter states: “As currently planned, sequestration will have a serious negative impact on the economy, national security, and federal agencies. In the current fiscal environment, we understand that defense spending must be part of any conversation about federal budget priorities. However, allowing sequestration to occur is neither responsible nor is it strategic.”

The letter affirms our conviction that Congress and the White House can work together to make certain that any cure to our debt and deficit problems is not worse than the malady that we’re trying to fix.

We’re realistic enough to know that our voice alone won’t end this debate and it won’t decide it. But as evidenced by this unprecedented gathering of disparate group, I’m gratified that our chorus of voices is clearly gathering strength. I’m confident that together we can win this battle.


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