WASHINGTON (AP/WAVY) - Virginia lawmakers say they are frustrated by the decision to delay the USS Truman's deployment. They know what military cuts will do to Hampton Roads.
"There is a stupid way and a less stupid way to do this," Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) said.
Virginia lawmakers say finding a "less stupid way" needs to be the focus.
"This greatly affects our readiness," Congressman Rob Wittman (R-VA) said. "It affects our ability respond to those threats especially in that region."
Top military officials stressed how important it is to have two carriers in the Persian Gulf at all times.
With the threat of budget concerns, the Navy decided the threats in that region would have to talk a back seat.
"I've been saying for over a year now that national defense and our military can not with stand the massive cuts we've already made," Congressman Randy Forbes (R-VA) said.
"I've thought about all these sailors that have made arrangements for the next eight months," Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said. "Their lives have been turned topsy-turvy, because Congress can't find a budget."
The sequestration deadline is March 1.
Kaine believes Congress shouldn't be so focused on that deadline, but should focus on coming up with a budget that can cut other areas.
"Why would we just let the sequester go into effect six weeks before both houses are supposed to have a budget that will lay out in a more logical fashion how these decisions should be made?" Kaine said.
"This will not only affect government contractors, federal employees or our men and women in the armed forces, but it's going to affect restaurants, gas stations and everybody who is part of the overall economy," Warner said.
Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA)
"I urge the President and the Senate to consider these alternatives passed by the House to avert sequestration. The seriousness of this situation cannot be overstated. These cuts have the potential to devastate our region and, as we can see by today's announcement, the impact on our community and our forward presence has already begun."
Statement from Gov. Bob McDonnell's office
"The Governor has repeatedly stated that sequestration will compromise our national defense and our readiness. Reducing our forward presence in the Gulf could have tremendous impacts on our ability to respond to threats in that region. The President and congress must act now to avert sequestration and enact thoughtful and strategic spending cuts that do not put our national interests at risk."
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)
"Today's decision regarding the Norfolk-based USS Harry S. Truman is the clearest sign yet that continued budget uncertainty will have a direct and dangerous impact on our national security and military readiness - not to mention the impact on the servicemen and women and their families who stand to be affected in Hampton Roads. Allowing the sequester to take effect and operating our military under a continuing resolution is poor business, poor budgeting and poor governance. We need to get back to an orderly budget process that prevents political gridlock from creating uncertainty and jeopardizing our national defense."
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