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 McCainGOP governors could help bring down Senate health bill Lawmakers wary of Trump escalation in Syria Senators urge Trump to do right thing with arms sales to Taiwan MORE (R-Ariz.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamOvernight Cybersecurity: New ransomware attack spreads globally | US pharma giant hit | House intel panel interviews Podesta | US, Kenya deepen cyber partnership Graham gets frustrated in public ‘unmasking’ debate GOP senator: Don't expect Trump to 'have your back' on healthcare vote MORE (R-S.C.), Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteOPINION: Democracy will send ISIS to the same grave as communism Kelly Ayotte joins defense contractor's board of directors Week ahead: Comey firing dominates Washington MORE (R-N.H.) and Saxby ChamblissSaxby ChamblissFormer GOP senator: Let Dems engage on healthcare bill OPINION: Left-wing politics will be the demise of the Democratic Party GOP hopefuls crowd Georgia special race 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 LevinTrump's crush on foreign autocrats threatens democracy at home OPINION: Congress must press forward with its Russia investigation Democrats and Republicans share blame in rewriting the role of the Senate 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.