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Keller @ Large: Can Mass. Avoid Another Round Of Defense Cuts?

By Jon Keller, WBZ-TV
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WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Up to 40,000 Massachusetts jobs could be wiped out if Congress follows through on plans for deep cuts in defense spending. A group formed to fight those cuts sounded the alarm Tuesday on Beacon Hill.

Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray is leading the push by local political, business and military leaders to protect the state’s job-rich defense industries from being ravaged by those impending budget cuts.

When the last major round of cuts was brewing seven years ago, Senator Ted Kennedy and then Governor Mitt Romney led a bi-partisan effort to fend them off.

But this task force has so little confidence in today’s political leaders that they feel compelled to re-emphasize what the cuts might do to our economy.

Chris Anderson of the Defense Technology Initiative says, “Without the data, it’s a little difficult to get the attention of members of the delegation to focus on assets that may not be located in their district.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Bernice Corpuz reports

But the scary numbers seem unlikely to sway Rep. Barney Frank. “Let’s tell NATO that they’re on their own,” he says. “There are people in Southeastern Massachusetts who work in building the nuclear submarines. I think we have enough nuclear submarines now. We don’t have an enemy for them. So I think the answer is not to not do these cuts. That’s how we got into this deficit, everybody says don’t cut if it hurts my state. That’s fiscal irresponsibility.”

“We can’t exactly throw Barney Frank up there to argue against defense cuts, can we?” Keller asked Tim Murray.

He replied, “Well, you know, Governor Romney and Ted Kennedy aren’t walking through that door, so we’ve gotta have a new model.”

So far, there have been plenty of meetings, warning letters to Defense department officials and press releases from the lawmakers about all of the above. But a source close to the process tells WBZ the effort so far is falling well short of the pushback Kennedy and Romney spearheaded back in 2005.

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