US defense industry in late surge to stop spending cuts
Defense contractors started a fresh surge of letter-writing campaigns and meetings with U.S. officials to plead their case about why the billions of dollars in cuts known as sequestration would harm not only the defense sector but the larger economy.
The cuts are already law, but when Congress put them there last year, lawmakers never intended for them to happen.
The thinking was that they would be so abhorrent that Democrats and Republicans would come up with an alternative budget-cutting plan.
But no plan has emerged, and lately some Republicans have been saying they are willing to let sequestration take effect. If Congress doesn't act by March 1, some $85 billion in spending will be cut, about half of it from domestic spending and half from defense, this year.
"It's time that our elected officials focus and disarm the so-called doomsday device they set in motion," Linda Hudson, chief executive of British BAE Systems' U.S unit, wrote in a blog posted on Thursday to employees of the company.
"Sequestration must be stopped, and you can help," she declared, urging employees to go online to a website where they could post a letter to their lawmakers.
BAE Systems PLC is a subcontractors on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet. Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor, while Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems are principal partners.
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