Rigell Becomes First GOP Rep. on Air Force One in Nine Months

Tuesday, 26 Feb 2013 11:24 AM

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Virginia Rep. Scott Rigell is accompanying President Barack Obama Tuesday on a trip to Newport News Shipbuilding, the state’s largest manufacturing employer.

That will make Rigell the first Republican in Congress to travel with Obama on Air Force One since at least last May, when Obama formally commenced his re-election effort, Politico reports.

Democratic Virginia Rep. Bobby Scott will also go on the trip. And Navy Secretary Ray Mabus will join them at Newport News Shipbuilding.

Obama is expected to press his case against the automatic spending cuts known as the sequester at the event. The White House says the cuts would halt maintenance on 11 ships at Norfolk and defer four other projects in the region.

Rigell said the White House invited him and that he expects to have the chance to address his budget concerns with Obama.

The congressman has said he would consider some tax hikes to curb the deficit. But he scolded Obama Monday at a public forum in Virginia Beach, saying the president hasn’t produced a written, concrete proposal of the tax increases and spending cuts that he favors, The Virginian-Pilot reports.

"Where are the specific alternatives?" Rigell said. "There's nothing. . . . I'm so deeply disappointed in our president because he is not leading. He is not giving us a viable path forward."

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