Panel Votes to Rescue A-10 Fleet before Completing Authorization Bill Markup

After more than 18 hours of deliberations, the House Armed Services Committee early Thursday morning approved the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill by a 60-2 vote.

The legislation, which authorizes $523 billion in national security spending and $89 billion in funding for DOD’s overseas contingency operations account, now heads to the House floor later this month, reported the Hill.

The measure rejects a number of cost-cutting reforms proposed by the Pentagon, including a request to hold a BRAC round in 2017, plans to trim support for commissaries and housing allowances for troops, and retiring the A-10 close air support jet.

Late Wednesday, the committee adopted by voice vote an amendment from freshman Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) blocking the Air Force’s plan to retire the A-10 fleet.

The draft bill already would authorize $683 million to million to keep the A-10s flying in FY 2016, but it did not include explicit language barring the Air Force from retiring the aircraft. That allowed McSally to offer her amendment and take credit for aiding her southeastern Arizona district, home of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and more than 80 Warthogs.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) opposed the move to block the aircraft’s retirement and offered an amendment to allow the Air Force to take steps to retire up to 164 A-10s, but leave more than 100 in service. The proposal from the former Marine and Iraq veteran failed, however, reported the Hill.

The measure authorizes pay raises for troops at 2.3 percent, versus the administration’s request for a 1.3 percent boost. The legislation is available on the committee website.

Dan Cohen
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