Pratt & Whitney, Sikorsky, Lockheed Martin and Aerospace Industries Association opposing budget cuts

JUPITER, Fla. -- Members of military defense companies and lawmakers are gathering Wednesday to hold an "employee rally."

Pratt & Whitney, Sikorsky, Lockheed Martin and the Aerospace Industries Association want to bring awareness to potential effects of hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts.

The rally is the third of its kind in the state. The groups say that due to an automatic spending cut stemming from the 2011 Budget Control Act, $487 billion in reductions will slam the Defense Department in the next decade. Another $500 billion in cuts could be on the way.

They claim the cuts will threaten national security and jobs for tens of thousands of people in Florida.

About 1,600 people work at Pratt & Whitney in western Jupiter.

Congressman Allen West supports the efforts and has plans to speak at the rally Wednesday.

Senator Bill Nelson reached across the aisle, writing a letter to Senator John McCain. Nelson wrote, "These automatic cuts are too big and would leave us, I believe, unprepared to deal with growing threats from other countries, like Iran. These cuts could cripple the defense department and dramatically raise unemployment."

Meanwhile, 2012 candidate Patrick Murphy issued a statement on the issue, writing, "These cuts exist as a result of the gridlock caused by divisive politicians like Allen West. Allen West voted for these cuts, and if a deal cannot be reached to protect education, healthcare, and military funding, he bears responsibility for the thousands of Florida families who will be faced with pink slips."

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