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 McCainMichelle Obama weighs in on Trump, 'Squad' feud: 'Not my America or your America. It's our America' Meghan McCain shares story of miscarriage Media cried wolf: Calling every Republican a racist lost its bite MORE (R-Ariz.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDemocrats should rise above and unify against Trump's tweets US-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Media cried wolf: Calling every Republican a racist lost its bite MORE (R-S.C.), Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteKey endorsements: A who's who in early states Sinema, Gallagher fastest lawmakers in charity race New Hampshire senator to ask 2020 Dems to back repeal of state residency law MORE (R-N.H.) and Saxby ChamblissClarence (Saxby) Saxby ChamblissRepublicans say Democrats holding up disaster relief as 'Sandy payback' Ex-House Intel chair: Intel panel is wrong forum to investigate Trump's finances The Hill's Morning Report - Trump budget reignites border security fight 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 Milton LevinListen, learn and lead: Congressional newcomers should leave the extremist tactics at home House Democrats poised to set a dangerous precedent with president’s tax returns The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — White House to 'temporarily reinstate' Acosta's press pass after judge issues order | Graham to take over Judiciary panel | Hand recount for Florida Senate race 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.