The White House has campaigned heavily over the past few weeks, with President Obama giving several speeches on the threat of the looming sequester budget cuts. Today the President gave a half-hour long speech at the Newport News Shipyard in Hampton Roads, Virginia. He expressed a willingness to compromise and frustration with too many of the Republicans in Congress. His message was well-received in an area of the state that helped him carry Virginia in both 2008 and 2012.
“The main reason I’m here is to call attention to the important work you’re doing on behalf of the nation’s defense, and to let the people know that this work, along with hundreds of thousands of jobs, are in danger,” President Obama said.”
He began the speech with a list of negative outcomes Virginia would face as a result of the sequester. Around 90,000 Virginians working for the Department of Defense would be forced to take paid leave, money would be cut to programs supporting college tuition and Head Start, and airports would face delays. The naval base in nearby Norfolk is the largest in the world, and the Newport News Shipyard builds and services many of the Navy’s ships. A large part of the region’s economy is driven by federal spending.
The President expressed a desire to compromise and said there were leaders in both parties who wish to do the same, but they were all held up by Republicans in Congress who refuse to bend on taxes.
“There are too many Republicans in Congress right now who refuse to compromise even an inch when it comes to closing taxing loopholes and ending deductions,” the President said. “That’s what holding things up right now.”
The President was greeted with applause throughout much of the speech. The President was met with heavy support in the Newport News, which he won recently with 64 percent of the vote. He also won all of the major cities in the Hampton Roads region, with the exception of his narrow defeat in Virginia Beach.
“The other thing we have to do is stop having these crises manufactured every month,” the President said, drawing another line of applause.
The chances of a compromise continue to look slim. The sequester budget cuts are fast approaching, and Washington remains paralyzed around lines in the sand.