GOP senators reject putting A-10 in storage

 

A group of Senate Republicans on Tuesday rejected a proposal in the House that would place the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft fleet into storage.

“Putting the A-10s in Type-1000 storage is not a compromise; it is a codification of the Air Force’s short-sighted and dangerous proposal to divest their most combat-effective and cost-efficient close air support aircraft,” Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump's dangerous Guantánamo fixation will fuel fire for terrorists Tech beefs up lobbying amid Russia scrutiny Ad encourages GOP senator to vote 'no' on tax bill MORE (R-Ariz.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamAlabama election has GOP racing against the clock Graham on Moore: 'We are about to give away a seat' key to Trump's agenda Tax plans show Congress putting donors over voters MORE (R-S.C.), Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteExplaining Democratic victories: It’s gun violence, stupid Trump voter fraud panel member fights back against critics Dems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada MORE (R-N.H.) and Saxby ChamblissSaxby ChamblissLobbying World Former GOP senator: Let Dems engage on healthcare bill OPINION: Left-wing politics will be the demise of the Democratic Party MORE (R-Ga.) said in a statement.

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The plan to place the 283-plane fleet in semi-retirement was proposed on Monday by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) in his mark of the fiscal year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act.

The fate of the aircraft has become one of the most contentious debates in the work on this year’s defense authorization bill, which will set Pentagon spending for fiscal 2015.

McKeon proposed storage, rather than retirement of the A-10, to buy time for lawmakers to try and reverse the spending cuts under sequestration and save the plane.

Graham called that a “terrible decision.”

“I really respect Buck and I think he’s trying to illustrate this is a choice driven buy budget, but there is no substitute for the A-10 any time soon,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “I will fight that vehemently because the ground troops really need the A-10.”

Graham noted that airplane’s previously planned replacement, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, “under the best of circumstances doesn’t come online until 2021 and I doubt if it will make it by then.”

McCain laughed at the idea of storing the A-10.

“With all due respect, I strongly disagree,” he told The Hill. “There is no adequate replacement for the A-10.”

McCain said he would attempt to block any move to retire or store the Warthog when the Senate Armed Services Committee marks up its version of the defense authorization bill later this month.

“Absolutely,” McCain said. “We will have amendments.”

Sen. Carl LevinCarl LevinA lesson on abuse of power by Obama and his Senate allies President Trump, listen to candidate Trump and keep Volcker Rule Republicans can learn from John McCain’s heroism MORE (D-Mich.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services panel, said he had not seen McKeon’s proposal.

“I’m happy to consider anything,” he told reporters.