WASHINGTON -- Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire on Monday joined with Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine in calling for congressional action to avoid automatic budget cuts, called "sequestration," that could hurt the Portmouth Naval Shipyard.
Shaheen and Snowe said sequestration could cause nearly $1.2 trillion in defense and non-defense federal spending cuts.
Shaheen said the Navy has announced the cuts would mean a civilian hiring freeze, cutting temporary workers at shipyards and base operating support facilities, reduced funding for critical repairs, and a possible 22-day furlough of civilian Naval employees.
Shaheen and Collins say a letter to the Senate Democratic and Republican leadership that the cuts "would have severe ramifications for many critical defense facilities, including our own Portsmouth Naval Shipyard."
Shaheen said in a statement, "The Navy’s announcement underscores just how unacceptable automatic sequestration cuts are not only to our national security but to our economy as well.
"We need a comprehensive plan to rein in our debt and deficits but not in a way that puts our vital national security and economic interests at risk. I’m disappointed that we missed an opportunity to work in this manner last year during the fiscal cliff negotiations but am hopeful that moving forward we can take steps to avoid the kinds of actions that the Navy announced."
"While I am deeply concerned about our nation’s rising debt and believe Congress must look for balanced and responsible ways to reduce federal spending, I oppose the indiscriminate, automatic, across-the-board cuts to defense and non-defense spending that would be required under sequestration," Collins said.
"Such meat-axe cuts would negatively affect jobs around the country, including as many as 5,900 in Maine where so many workers build and repair Navy submarines and ships, advanced jet engines, and other technologies that our nation’s Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines rely upon to protect our country," said Collins.