President Obama dropped by Virginia on Tuesday, railed against Congress for yet another "manufactured crisis" -- this time sequestration 2013 -- and asked for help pressuring lawmakers to solve the budget impasse that could cost the state more than 200,000 jobs.
"If you agree with me, I need you to make sure your voices are heard," Obama told employees and television cameras at Newport News Shipbuilding. "Let your leaders know what you expect of them. Let them know what you believe."
The company receives Defense Department funding that's being threatened by drastic, mostly indiscriminate cuts that begin March 1 if no agreement is reached on debt reduction. Virginia Sen. Mark Warner has already warned that sequestration will be "worse than you imagine."
In addition to the potential job losses, Obama said that under sequestration 18,000 fewer Virginians will get the skills and training they need to find jobs; 2,000 Virginia college students will lose financial aid; and early education programs will be eliminated for 1,000 children.
The president said Republicans in Congress have put more stock in playing games than in saving the jobs of those in Virginia and elsewhere around the country.
"This work, along with hundreds of thousands of jobs, are currently in jeopardy because of politics in Washington," Obama said.
Translated, it brings to mind the infamous New York Daily News headline that followed Gerald Ford's refusal to bail out New York City from bankruptcy. The headline: "Ford to New York: Drop Dead."
Whoever is right or wrong, whoever is playing games or not, there's no doubt that even the prospect of sequestration is bad for Virginia. So, if you'd like to contact your government representatives, click on their names below:
B40C Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-4024
2454 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4261
Fax: (202) 225-4382
424 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
hone: (202) 225-1492
Fax: (202) 225-3071