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No Time to Lose on Sequester: President Obama's comment during Monday night's presidential debate that budget sequestration "will not happen" is "encouraging," but negotiations must start at once in order to avoid it, said Aerospace Industries Association President Marion Blakey. In an Oct. 23 teleconference with reporters, Blakey noted there are only 70 days left until sequestration kicks in at the start of January; that's "too short" of a period for the post-election lame duck Congress to write and vote on a new law reversing it, she said. "We need a workable plan," said Blakey, calling on the White House and Congress "to open up negotiations right now" to avoid sequestration's steep spending cuts. "This must not wait until the middle of November," insisted Blakey. Legislation must be "ready to go" to beat the deadline, she asserted. Sequestration represents a "fundamental jeopardizing of defense" for the nation and will exact 2.1 million jobs—"half of which are in small business"—as the price of inaction, she said. The two-thirds of the Senate not up for re-election could get to work right away, she said. The negotiations must also have "the full weight of the Presidency" behind them, she said.