Heck to defense contractor: Sequestration 'going to hurt'

LAKEWOOD, Wash. -- Workers at the Tactical Tailor don't just make military equipment.

"What we do is bigger than us," said Casey Ingels of the Tactical Tailor, adding the shop's work also protects troops overseas. "And we owe them 100 percent."

The shop even supplied the gear worn by the Navy seals who raided Osama bin Laden's compound.

"They absolutely were wearing our pouches, our packs and our plate carriers," said Ingels.

But as the March 1 deadline for mandatory federal budget cuts inches closer, the shop workers worry their products' demand may plunge.

On Friday the workers had a rare chance to ask Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash., if they might lose their jobs.

"It's an awesome responsibility," said Heck of the looming sequestration. "This is going to hurt."

Heck is convinced lawmakers will not cut a deal in time when they reconvene on Capitol Hill next week.

"It's just not going to happen," he said. "We're going to go over the cliff next week."

The result will be major budget cuts to the military across Puget Sound, especially for Joint-Base Lewis McChord and the Naval shipyard in Bremerton, which could lose $90 million.

"To lose jobs because of the failure of Congress to plan is difficult," said Ingels.

Ingels, a veteran himself, knows the cuts will trickle down to him eventually.

But for he and others at the shop, it's a waiting game.

"That's all you can do," he said.

Ingels asked Heck to keep fighting, and Heck, in turn, made a promise to these men and women whom soldiers rely on.

"Not one minute -- one second -- will I stop," said Heck.