Defense industry lobbyists are bearing down on members of Congress in a bid to avert $52 billion in automatic spending cuts, part of a series of reductions that threaten to reshape military programs and contractors’ profits for years.
U.S. lawmakers have been barraged with phone calls, letters and visits in the biggest lobbying campaign by military contractors in recent history, as a special congressional committee begins meeting today in an effort to produce a budget accord replacing cuts approved in 2011, known as sequestration.
For the defense industry, this is a potentially transformational moment in its relationship with Congress, where defense spending long was accorded special status as a matter of national security and hometown jobs — reinforced by campaign contributions. John McCain of Arizona, a leading Senate voice on defense, said military spending is no longer sacrosanct, even among fellow Republicans.
Both McCain and Graham, of South Carolina, said the defense industry is facing an uphill fight to escape sequestration. Gordon Adams, professor of foreign policy at the American University School of International Service, calls defense spending “a drive-by shooting victim of budget politics.”
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