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Local businesses speak with members of Congress

Posted: January 9, 2012 6:22 p.m.
Updated: January 9, 2012 6:22 p.m.

From left, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., and Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., participate in a press conference inside city council chambers at Santa Clarita City Hall on Monday.

Local aerospace and defense contractors met with members of the House Armed Services Committee, including Chairman Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, on Monday in Santa Clarita to discuss future defense cuts and the difficulties of cutting through Department of Defense red tape.

McKeon told Signal staff that there are going to be cuts in the defense industry, but he doesn't know yet know exactly what they'll be.

"There are going to be some of these contracts drying up," McKeon said during a news conference after the business roundtable. "There's still opportunity for (small to medium defense contractors), and we want to make things easier for them to get in there and bring those products to the Department of Defense."

Members of the Business Challenges Within the Defense Industry panel have been meeting with contractors throughout the country to discuss ideas for next year's defense budget, according to Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pennsylvania. He said panel members have been seeing a common issue with contractors throughout the country: bureaucratic red tape with the Department of Defense.

"The auditing part of the Department of Defense can result in these companies having to hold onto dollars instead of deploying them to research or production," said Shuster.

The companies represented at the discussion held at Santa Clarita City Hall were mainly small- to medium-sized defense contractors from either Santa Clarita or Palmdale.

Howard Lind, president and chief executive officer of Cicoil, a Valencia-based business that specializes in flat cables used in space shuttles and fighter jets, said his company has experienced its fair share of red tape, including issues with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. The regulations protect and control the sale of American defense products to other countries.

For Lind, the regulations often prove problematic when trying to sell his cables because companies would rather buy from a manufacturer in another country that doesn't have the same regulations.

"We've lost considerable business because they will buy from other countries," said Lind, who said two-thirds of his business is military-based.

Members of the committee will continue meeting with defense contractors this week in the Antelope Valley, Hawaii and San Diego.




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