Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., AIA Chairman and President of Pratt & Whitney, United Technologies Corporation David P. Hess, and more than 200 local workers rallied Aug. 8 at the Pratt & Whitney facility in Jupiter, Fla., to warn about the threat to U.S. economic and military strength posed by $1 trillion in sequestration budget cuts scheduled for January 2013.
A new study commissioned by AIA found that Florida could lose more than 79,000 jobs if Congress does not act to stop these cuts.
In addition to West and Hess, Palm Beach County Business Development Board Senior Vice President of Administration Gary Hines, Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President and General Manager of F-35 Program Integration Tom Burbage and Sikorsky Aircraft Vice President of Washington Operations and Government Business Development Scott Starrett addressed the workers and raised concerns over the impending budget cuts.
The speakers warned that, with only 146 days until the cuts go into effect, Congress needs to act now to stop the clock on sequestration and enact alternative means of deficit reduction.
“Make no mistake; sequestration budget cuts are a threat to American jobs, the economy and U.S. national security,” said Hess. “Sequestration is the wrong way to address the country’s fiscal challenges, and instead risks damaging a vital industrial sector as a consequence of a historic political gamble.”
Aerospace and defense supports more than 167,000 jobs in Florida, bringing $14 billion in revenue and fueling $5 billion in exports – an economic powerhouse that has needlessly been placed at risk.
AIA began its Second to None campaign to educate our leaders, elected officials and the general public about the threat sequestration cuts pose to our national security, economy and industrial base capabilities. These cuts threaten not only the high-salary high-skilled jobs in the aerospace and defense industry, but also teachers, nurses, and federal, state and local government workers across the entire nation.
Rallies like this event are being scheduled across the country to bring home the risk to innovative companies like Pratt & Whitney and their communities and to urge Congress to find an alternative to sequestration cuts as soon as possible to avoid massive disruptions in our workforce and businesses.