Armed Services panel moves to save A-10

Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee plan to introduce an amendment Wednesday that would delay retirement of the Air Force's A-10 fleet, according to chairman Sen. Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinSen. Gillibrand, eyeing 2020 bid, rankles some Democrats The Hill's 12:30 Report Congress needs bipartisanship to fully investigate Russian influence MORE (D-Mich.).

The amendment will be introduced during Levin's markup of the 2015 defense authorization bill, which the committee is planning to consider on Wednesday during a closed meeting.

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The Pentagon has recommended cutting the A-10 fleet in order to save more than $4 billion in the next five years, but the amendment would postpone that from happening for at least a year.

The amendment will be sponsored by Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP moves to cut debate time for Trump nominees GOP advances proposal to change Senate rules Julian Castro predicts Arizona will 'go blue' for Senate, presidential election MORE (R-Ariz.) and cosponsored by Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteThe Hill's Morning Report: Koch Network re-evaluating midterm strategy amid frustrations with GOP Audit finds US Defense Department wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars US sends A-10 squadron to Afghanistan for first time in three years MORE (R-N.H.), one of the A-10's fiercest champions in the Senate.

The House Armed Services Committee approved its version of the defense bill earlier this month, which included a plan that would also prevent the A-10 fleet's retirement for at least a year, but that bill uses wartime funding known as Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) to pay for it.

Pentagon officials have said Defense Secretary Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelShould Mike Pompeo be confirmed? Intel chief: Federal debt poses 'dire threat' to national security Hagel: Trump is 'an embarrassment' MORE is "not pleased" with the House's defense bill, and the Office of Management and Budget has said it would recommend that President Obama veto the bill.

Unlike the House defense bill's version, the offset for keeping the A-10 flying for another year would not come from war funding, Ayotte said.

Levin said the committee has found an offset for the delay from various other places in the Pentagon's proposed 2015 budget.

"I am pleased with it...It actually has an offset within the mark and I'm really appreciative of Sen. Levin's support, because it was really his staff that came up with the proposal, and he's been very supportive from the beginning," she said.

Ayotte said their proposal would also cost less than the House's, which was $635 million, "but it will be sufficient to ensure that the A-10 cannot be retired during the 2015 year."

"You know who is going to be happy? Our ground troops," Ayotte said. "Our ground troops are very happy that we're going to preserve the A-10, and I've been hearing from a lot of them, and this is important to them."

— This story was last updated at 4:52 p.m.