The Hampton Roads Chamber hosted a U.S. Congressional Issues Breakfast on October 31 in Virginia Beach, attracting more than 150 business and community leaders. As the voice of business, the Chamber strives to offer quality programs and access to elected leaders. Speakers at the luncheon included Congressman Randy Forbes, Congressman Scott Rigell, Congressman Bobby Scott, and Congressman Robert Wittman. Shep Miller, Chair of the Hampton Roads Business Political Action Committee emceed the discussion, which focused on the topics of the national budget and sequestration.
They don’t believe Congress will allow another government shutdown like the one in October. The delegation agrees that automatic defense cuts, sequestration, were harmful and need to be stopped. Congress voted on October 16 to fund government operation, but only until January 15, 2014.
Congressman Forbes was the only of the four to vote against the measure that ended the shutdown and avoided default. Forbes said he couldn’t support the bill in part because it kept in place $52 billion in defense cuts and would jeopardize national security. Forbes said, “When you have to look the CNO in the eye and you see the direction we’re moving for national defense, we need to stop and say ‘We have got to change this, and we’ve got to change this now.’”
"I am personally, absolutely committed to reaching out, making sure that we advance sound solutions because we owe it to our men and women in uniform and we certainly owe it to the next generation of Americans," said Congressman Scott Rigell.
Congressman Bobby Scott said, "When you're talking about sequestration, you're talking about a process that could have a devastating effect on the economy of Hampton Roads."
"Where we are today, this nation’s military readiness is unconscionable," said Congressman Rob Wittman. "Where we are, we cannot afford to go there."
Scott believes the problems began earlier this year when Congress agreed to keep the Bush tax cuts that would have expired. He said, “The problem stems from the fact that members of Congress have been unwilling to make tough choices and recognize that to increase spending, you increase taxes. If you cut taxes, you have to cut spending.”
After the congressmen addressed the crowd, the audience had an opportunity to ask questions. The Chamber thanks sponsors: Portfolio Recovery Associates, Inc. (Presenting); Cox Communications (Media); Sentara Optima Health Plans (Silver); and Clark Nexsen, Architecture & Engineering and Verizon Communications (Silver Legislative Affairs Partners).