Defense Contractors Whistling Past the Graveyard

Defense Contractors Whistling Past the Graveyard

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There are few major defense contractors still convinced that Congress will block the massive sequester cuts to slash the Pentagon’s budget. Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin, among others, haven’t included the looming $50 billion of  cuts in their annual projections. “Even as their lobbyists keep warning how much the cuts would hurt the industry, the executives are projecting confidence that the sequester will not happen,” The Washington Post reports.  -  Read more at The Washington Post

SENATE VOTES ON SUSPENDING DEBT LIMIT TODAY   The Senate is set to vote on the House-approved debt ceiling suspension bill this afternoon, and is likely to approve a measure that temporarily defuses the controversy over extending the government’s borrowing authority. Senate Republicans will attempt to tack two amendments onto measure, including one to make permanent the so-called “Boehner rule” requiring Congress to match, dollar for dollar, increases in the debt ceiling with spending cuts. Neither amendement is likely to survive while the underlying bill is expected to sail through the Democrat-controlled Senate.  -  Read more at Roll Call

DEFENSE STOCKS HUMMING ALONG     Despite a rough fourth quarter looming sequester, defense stocks are humming along with the rest of the markets. The Fiscal Times’ David Francis writes: “One might think that defense stocks would struggle along with the industry. But that isn’t quite the case.  As the markets have reached new highs, they’ve pulled defense industry stocks along, lifting many to within striking distance of their peak prices for the past year… shares of defense contractors like Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman have all posted gains.”  -  Read more at The Fiscal Times

HAGEL UNDER A MAGNIFYING GLASS     Former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of  Nebraska is facing his critics this morning  during his confirmation hearings to become President Obama’s next Secretary of Defense. The heavily decorated Vietnam War Army infantryman received a relatively warm welcome from Democratic Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin of Michigan, but a harsh reception from the ranking member,  Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-OK. Hagel is certain to be  questioned about his harsh assessment of U.S. policy in Iraq and Iran, and his controversial statements about the “Jewish lobby.” Levin said he also wants Hagel’s views on sequestration and defense cuts. Some Republicans fear that he will cut too much from the Pentagon’s already shrinking budget.  -  Read more at The Hill



Brianna Ehley is the former Washington Correspondent for The Fiscal Times. She is currently a reporter on Politico's health care team in Washington, D.C.