Texas Senator Continues Push to Trim Overseas Bases
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) is urging the congressional deficit-reduction supercommittee to consider closing unneeded overseas bases, rather than slashing force structure or weapons systems.
The Texas senator’s call for “relocating as many of our military personnel back to America as is prudently possible” extends last month’s recommendation to cut spending on overseas military construction that she, along with five other senators, sent the supercommittee.
In justifying her recommendation, Hutchison cites the additional cost to maintain overseas facilities, as well as the benefit to having service members and their families spend their earnings in American communities and the additional military construction that would be performed in the United States. Last year, the president’s bipartisan deficit reduction commission estimated that responsible overseas base closings could save taxpayers $8.5 billion through 2015.
The senator, who has announced she will retire next year, also notes the availability of U.S. installations to accommodate returning forces. “For instance, we know that Fort Bliss and Fort Hood in Texas both offer unparalleled training facilities and equipment as well as family housing, excellent military health care, and ready access by rail to nearby Gulf ports for rapid worldwide deployment,” she wrote last Friday in her weekly column.
In October, Hutchison and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced legislation that would create a federal commission to consider closing outdated overseas bases.