(Jonathan D. Salant and Terry Atlas, Bloomberg reporters, “Defense Fights Sequestration Eisenhower Couldn’t Predict”, Oct 29, 2013 http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20131031/NEWS02/710319913)//BB
WASHINGTON -- 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. "It's a new generation of conservatives that may not have the same concern for national security as previously," McCain said Tuesday. "A lot of them have never served, many of them are new in the Congress and many of them campaigned committed to cutting spending." The Aerospace Industries Association, a trade group that counts top contractors Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Co. as members, said it is waging its largest campaign in years against sequestration. The mandated defense spending cuts will take about $52 billion from the Pentagon's request of $526.6 billion, excluding war costs, for the current fiscal year. A key deadline is Dec. 13, when congressional negotiators are to propose a budget before a temporary spending bill expires a month later. While the contractors want to avoid the next round of cuts, they also want to avoid a "new normal where lower defense spending is acceptable," said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University in New Jersey. Defense programs would be reduced by about $500 billion over nine years from planned levels if sequestration stays in place. "They want to counteract the perception that lower spending won't actually endanger the nation," Zelizer said.