Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tanker Funding Fight: Wait until June?

Out today is a Reuters article about Representative Ike Skelton, the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and his call to improve military readiness and the ability of U.S. troops to respond quickly to a crisis.

While he declined to weigh in on the $35 billion aerial tanker contract debate, he did make the following comments:

Skelton said there would undoubtedly be efforts to address the issue during the shaping of the 2009 defense spending bill, but his preference would be to wait until the Government Accountability Office had ruled on the protest in mid-June.

"I would hope to minimize the discussion or the effort until at least the GAO has played out its protest," he said.

Others on the committee, including Ranking Member Duncan Hunter, are on record as being against the contract. Also, many key members on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense are solidly against funding the A330 based tanker.

So while many members might want to wait until the GAO rules in June, there will be significant pressure to act before then. This should make for a lively House of Representatives the next few months.

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