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
Add to Briefcase
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 »
SAYS TRUMP JUST ATTACKING REPUBLICANS
Former Top Aide to McConnell Says GOPers Should Abandon Trump
2 days ago
THE LATEST
“YOU CAN’T CHANGE HISTORY, BUT YOU CAN LEARN FROM IT”
Trump Defends Confederate Statues in Tweetstorm
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE
CEOS HAVE BEEN FLEEING FOR THE EXITS
Trump to End Business Councils
3 days ago
THE LATEST
FROM STATEMENT
McConnell: “No Good Neo-Nazis”
3 days ago
THE LATEST
NO FORMAL LEGISLATIVE EFFORT
CBC Members Call for Removal of Confederate Statues from Capitol
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are reviving calls to remove Confederate statues from the Capitol following the violence at a white nationalist rally in Virginia." Rep. Cedric Richmond, the group's chair, told ABC News that "we will never solve America's race problem if we continue to honor traitors who fought against the United States." And Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson said, “Confederate memorabilia have no place in this country and especially not in the United States Capitol." But a CBC spokesperson said no formal legislative effort is afoot.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login