If lawmakers whiff on a budget deal later this month, they could end up hitting defense contractors like Newport News Shipbuilding.
Congress must act by April 28 to avoid that from happening, warned Rep. Rob Wittman on Tuesday, addressing several hundred attendees at the Sea-Air-Space exposition in National Harbor, Md.
The Westmoreland Republican shared a stage with Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn. They serve on the influential Armed Services sea power subcommittee, which Wittman chairs. Courtney serves as the top Democrat.
The federal government is currently operating under a continuing resolution that keeps spending at 2016 levels. That expires April 28. Congress must either enact a new spending bill or approve yet another continuing resolution. The latter option is a nonstarter for the military and the defense industry, Wittman said. “We cannot have that happen, period,” he told the audience.
Courtney agreed, saying: “If, God forbid, that a (continuing resolution) does pass, things are going to happen that are going to be splashy and ugly. People are going to get a pretty brutal awakening.”
Courtney is close to shipbuilding as well. His district includes General Dynamics Electric Boat of Groton, Conn., which builds nuclear-powered submarines in partnership with the Newport News shipyard, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries.
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