President Trump to visit Newport News Shipbuilding Thursday

Posted at 12:16 PM, Feb 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-27 17:40:28-05

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - President Donald Trump will visit Newport News Shipbuilding on Thursday, according to a media release from The White House.

The president will make remarks aboard the future USS Gerald R. Ford.

While it is unclear what President Trump will specifically discuss, CBS News recently reported Trump plans to increase defense spending by $54 billion in his first federal budget proposal.

Additionally, CBS News reported Trump plans to offset that increase by slashing about $54 billion from 'domestic programs'.

The budget increase is a sign Trump is serious about defense spending, and money like that could definitely boost some local industries in Hampton Roads, like the Newport News Shipyard.

At President Trump's Thursday appearance, some steelworkers hope the President discusses just that: defense spending.

“I’d like to get an answer on sequestration," said Arnold Outlaw, President of Union Steelworkers Local 8888. "The company says sequestration is a thorn in their button. We have to say the same thing, because no one is on steady ground as long as that is hanging over your head.”

Sequestration was that time back in 2013 when the Navy lost about $9 billion due to 'across-the-board' budget cuts.

Outlaw says the Navy, and the industries that support it, like Newport News Shipbuilding are still suffering from that financial loss.

For steelworkers, budget cuts means thinks like work stoppages at the shipyard.

“I hope he is coming to tell [Newport News Shipbuilding] to get up off some of that money they bragged about [earlier this] month," said Outlaw. “We deserve to take part in the wealth of the shipyard, because we are the ones who make the wealth of the shipyard.”

Aside from sequestration concerns, Outlaw says wages, health care and retirement are the top three concerns for steelworkers.

At over 20,000 employees, Newport News Shipbuilding is the largest industrial employer in Virginia. It is likely an increase in defense spending would mean an increase in jobs and work for steelworkers at Newport News Shipbuilding.