With the federal budget being hotly contested, one wonders how many job cuts, especially in the defense sector, will be made across the region and which politician will get blamed for them.
By one account, nearly 20,000 Virginia jobs could be lost if the House version of the federal budget passes. Moody’s Analytics, part of the credit rating service, claims that the budget would result in 700,000 fewer jobs nationally.
Among the jobs cut in Virginia would be 2,300 workers at Norfolk’s U.S. Joint Forces Command. A little closer to D.C., as part of the JFCOM shutdown, some 171 jobs would be lost at the Joint Warfare Analysis Center, part of the Naval Support Facility Dahlgren, about 20 miles east of Fredericksburg on the Potomac.
In Maryland, Northrop Grumman announced this week that it is cutting 500 employees at its plants. These may not strictly be related to the budget proposal but are nonetheless part of a general slowdown in defense spending.
To be sure, defense cuts are inevitable as the war in Iraq winds down, even as fighting in Afghanistan continues. After the 9/11 attacks, the War on Terrorism brought the D.C. area a cornucopia of new defense spending, either directly in new military personnel or through an explosion of defense contracting, as The Post has noted in detail.
As spending cuts proceed, some politicians are likely to get gored. But which ones isn’t exactly clear.
Blue Virginia, a pro-Democratic blog, notes that Virginia’s conservative politicians back H.R. 1, which the blog states would end up cutting 19,500 jobs in the state. It notes that many state Republicans such as Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and Rep. Randy Forbes, have been silent on the budget cuts in the House bill even though they aggressively fought closure of JFCOM went it was announced last year. To be fair, Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb of Virginia fought the closure as well. Eric Cantor, the Republican House Majority Leader, also led a failed effort to save an alternate jet engine for the new F-35 jet fighter; maker Rolls Royce North America is headquartered and has factories in Virginia.
As the drumbeat for cutting federal spending continues, it will be increasingly important to keep score on how it all turns out in the real world.