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Connolly: Call Off Congressional Recess to Tackle Sequester Threat

U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly today called for cancelling the 7.5-week congressional recess set to begin Friday, saying that “if the threat of sequestration is a real crisis, and it is, then Congress should cancel its recess, at least in part, to resolve it.” Connolly’s remarks came at an 11th District Congressional candidates forum co-hosted by the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce and Merrifield Business Association today in Tysons Corner.

connlleyweb230Democratic incumbent Gerry Connolly at the podium with GOP challenger Chris Perkins.

U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly today called for cancelling the 7.5-week congressional recess set to begin Friday, saying that “if the threat of sequestration is a real crisis, and it is, then Congress should cancel its recess, at least in part, to resolve it.” Connolly’s remarks came at an 11th District Congressional candidates forum co-hosted by the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce and Merrifield Business Association today in Tysons Corner.

Connolly is seeking a third Congressional term in this November’s election, facing challenges from the GOP nominee, Col. (Ret.) Chris Perkins, three independents, Chris DeCarlo, Mark Gibson and Peter Marchetti, and a Green Party candidate, Joe Galdo. Following redistricting last spring, Connolly’s chances are considered vastly improved over the serious challenge he faced in 2010 when he survived a stiff challenge when three other Virginia Democratic congressmen were unseated.

decarlowebCandidate Chris DeCarlo performs a rap to get his points across. Perkins, DeCarlo and Gibson joined Connolly for the event, and it was noted that the looming issue of sequestration, should Congress fail to act, will hit Northern Virginia hardest, second only to Hampton Roads, as Virginia will take the brunt of $492 billion in defense budget cuts, the highest per capita cuts of any state in the U.S.

Connolly reminded noted that the source of the threatened sequestration lies with the Republicans who failed to provide a “clean debt ceiling” for the first time in U.S. history, with some Tea Party types arguing that it would be OK with them if the U.S. defaulted on its debts. Following on Perkins’ claim that sequestration would be “devastating to this area,” Connolly called on his congressional colleagues to cancel “at least part” of the 7.5-week vacation leading up to the November election.

Connolly became exercised in response to a claim from a questioner that the D.C. area, and his district, is only in the business of “printing money.” He said the area is a pioneer in information technology, protecting national security efforts, developing drone technology, Internet capabilities, home to DARPA, developing GPS technology and leading the fight against the threat of IEDs, arming Humvees, and providing intelligence to avoid harm to U.S. forces and assets worldwide. “I am very proud of the contributions out companies make,” Connolly said.

Perkins, Connolly’s GOP challenger, stepped to the microphone and said, “Whatever the consequences of my saying this, my opponent’s answer just now was spot on.”

Earlier, Connolly praised the civility of all the candidates participating in the event. The presentations were led by DeCarlo, who gave his speech in the form of a rap song, one of a number that are, or soon will be, on YouTube.