Congress passed the massive 2-year budget deal at the end of October, preventing another government shutdown.
The CEO of a shipbuilding company that supplies the US Navy, however, is still angry over the last time Congress failed.
Mike Petters, CEO of Huntington Ingalls, said that his company is being forced to constantly layoff and rehire employees due to the delays in funding caused by the shutdown in 2013.
“Truthfully some of that was caused by the budget battle back about three years ago when the arrival of the overhaul was delayed due to a Congressional dispute,” said Petters in the company’s quarterly earnings call Thursday “But because we are going to be working through that over the next year-and-a-half, we are going to have another round of [layoffs] next year that we are going to have to recognise.”
Petters also said that the company will have to continue to fire for a few years, but also hire them back. This is not only bad for the workers, but also the business. Here’s Petters (emphasis ours):
“And that’s the problem that we have when we get a little bit out of phase is that, this coming and going is not healthy for the business. And it tears our heart out that we have to go through this sort of thing and we try to move mountains to prevent it. And our legislators try to do that too and it’s incredibly unfortunate that we are going to actually have to go through this little dance over the next couple of years.”
Petters said while the shutdown was brief may have lasted a short time, its impact is still being felt.
“When we are in a sequestered environment that’s a very short term, very narrow focus and it can have some long-term affects,” he said.
This time around, Congress was able to reach a compromise on the budget and is on tack to set the appropriations for defence spending. This comparatively smooth process has Petters is a bit more hopeful.
“I would say the fact that they have got to a compromise and the fact that they are moving towards a regular order process to get through revise the authorization bill and get these appropriations bills done,” said Petters. “We are optimistic that that’s going to happen. We believe that the more the legislative process can be in a regular order process, the better chance we have to make the case for the long-term investments that need to be made to support our programs.”
For Petters, it’s unfortunate that he has to jerk his employees around because of Congress, and he’s hoping it doesn’t happen again.
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