PORTSMOUTH-- Rep. Bobby Scott (D-3rd D.) says he's concerned about the impact of continuing uncertainty on defense sub-contractors if Congress does not act to limit the automatic defense cuts known as sequestration under the Budget Control Act of 2011.
Scott on Tuesday toured a Portsmouth firm that manufactures copper-nickel seawater pipefittings for Navy aircraft carriers and amphibious ships. At Premiere Supply Company, Scott said he's worried.
'Businesses like this may just have to stop work,' he said. 'What does that do to the work force? Will people leave? Will they be able to stay in business while they're waiting for people to decide whether the work is going to get done or not.'
The Democrat said it's all about providing certainty for companies in the ship repair, supply and construction industry.
'They have to know that there's work to do,' he said. 'Otherwise, they just can't stay in business.'
Premiere is a subsidiary of a larger, national defense subcontractor called W&O. One of its main clients is Newport News Shipbuilding. W&O Branch Manager Phil Jiannine says going though the ups and downs of sequestration in 2013 was no fun.
'It was awful,' he said. 'It's the element of the unknown, no knowing what's going to happen; It's a very volatile roller coaster. Just the unknown was incredible.'
Jiannine says if budget cuts cause a slow-down in the work flow, his company will be affected.
'You can't lose the quality craftsmen that manufacture the goods that we do,' he said. 'We're going to lose people to attrition. It's hard to sleep at night, waking up the next day, not knowing whether you're going to have a job or not.'