House Committee Votes to Keep A-10 Funding Through 2015

Despite pleas from Air Force officials, lawmakers are refusing to let the A-10 become a casualty of sequestration.

<p>The Air Force's A-10 fleet is being retired under the fiscal year 2015 budget request.</p>
National Journal
Ben Watson, Defense One
May 8, 2014, 9:13 a.m.

The House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee voted to ad­opt an amend­ment that keeps the Air Force’s con­ten­tious A-10 “Warthog” air­craft fly­ing through the next fisc­al year.

The amend­ment passed through com­mit­tee late Wed­nes­day with a 41-20 bi­par­tis­an vote. It will be fun­ded by mov­ing $635 mil­lion over to the Over­seas Con­tin­gency Op­er­a­tions fund, which pays for the war in Afgh­anistan, where the A-10 has been used for years to sup­port ground troops.

“There’s no oth­er fixed-wing air­craft that can do the job the A-10 can do,” Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ar­iz., who pro­posed the amend­ment to this year’s Na­tion­al De­fense Au­thor­iz­a­tion Act, said late Wed­nes­day.

In ad­di­tion to con­tinu­ing fund­ing and op­er­a­tions through the next fisc­al year, Barber’s amend­ment also calls for the Gov­ern­ment Ac­count­ab­il­ity Of­fice to study the best plat­form the Air Force should use for its close air sup­port mis­sions.

Air Force of­fi­cials said the plan to cut more than 300 A-10s would save the ser­vice al­most $4 bil­lion.

Dur­ing a Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee hear­ing Tues­day on Cap­it­ol Hill, Sen. John Mc­Cain, R-Ar­iz., again dir­ec­ted heated ques­tions to both the Army and Air Force about re­tir­ing the A-10s. “I find it curi­ous that you come over here with all the ne­ces­sity for cost sav­ings and the A-10 cost for fly­ing hour is $17,000 per fly­ing hour,” Mc­Cain said. “Fact is that the B-1 is much more ex­pens­ive, it flies at high-alti­tude, and it at­tacks stat­ic tar­gets. That does not ful­fill the mis­sion of close air sup­port as I know it.”

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh replied that the F-16, not the B-1, is the primary re­place­ment for the A-10 on the bat­tle­field. “It’s already done more close air sup­port in Afgh­anistan than the A-10 has, and it will work with oth­er air­craft if the scen­ario al­lows it to provide the best pos­sible close air sup­port for our troops on the ground,” Welsh said. “We are ab­so­lutely com­mit­ted to it. We have been, and we will re­main so.”

The amend­ment also re­jects a plan pro­posed by com­mit­tee chair­man Rep. Buck McK­eon, R-Cal­if., to tem­por­ar­ily store the planes. That plan — in­volving what’s called type-1000 stor­age — was im­me­di­ately met by op­pos­i­tion from Mc­Cain and Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Lind­sey Gra­ham, R-S.C., and Saxby Cham­b­liss, R-Ga. They is­sued a joint state­ment on Tues­day say­ing the tem­por­ary stor­age plan was no “com­prom­ise” but rather a “short-sighted and dan­ger­ous pro­pos­al to di­vest their most com­bat-ef­fect­ive and cost-ef­fi­cient close air sup­port air­craft.”

The amend­ment leaves the House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee for a full vote in the House in two weeks. The Sen­ate will take up its own ver­sion of the NDAA around the same time.

What We're Following See More »
‘PRESUMPTIVE NOMINEE’
Priebus Asks Party to Unite Behind Trump
3 hours ago
THE LATEST
FEELING THE MIDWESTERN BERN
Sanders Upsets Clinton in Indiana
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

Despite trailing Hillary Clinton by a significant margin, Bernie Sanders wasn't going the way of Ted Cruz tonight. The Vermont senator upset Clinton in Indiana, with MSNBC calling the race at 9pm. Sanders appears poised to win by a five- or six-point spread.

Source:
TRUMP IS PRESUMPTIVE NOMINEE
Ted Cruz Bows Out, Effectively Ceding the Contest to Trump
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

And just like that, it's over. Ted Cruz will suspend his presidential campaign after losing badly to Donald Trump in Indiana tonight. "While Cruz had always hedged when asked whether he would quit if he lost Indiana; his campaign had laid a huge bet on the state." John Kasich's campaign has pledged to carry on. “From the beginning, I’ve said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory,” said Cruz. “Tonight, I’m sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed."

Source:
TAKES AT LEAST 45 DELEGATES
Trump Wins Indiana, All but Seals the Nomination
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

The Republican establishment's last remaining hope—a contested convention this summer—may have just ended in Indiana, as Donald Trump won a decisive victory over Ted Cruz. Nothing Cruz seemed to have in his corner seemed to help—not a presumptive VP pick in Carly Fiorina, not a midwestern state where he's done well in the past, and not the state's legions of conservatives. Though Trump "won't secure the 1,237 delegates he needs to formally claim the nomination until June, his Indiana triumph makes it almost impossible to stop him. Following his decisive wins in New York and other East Coast states, the Indiana victory could put Trump within 200 delegates of the magic number he needs to clinch the nomination." Cruz, meanwhile, "now faces the agonizing choice of whether to remain in the race, with his attempt to force the party into a contested convention in tatters, or to bow out and cede the party nomination to his political nemesis." The Associated Press, which called the race at 7pm, predicts Trump will win at least 45 delegates.

Source:
LOTS OF STRINGERS
Inside the AP’s Election Operation
10 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
×