Mr. BRIGHT. Mr. Chairman, I rise today to thank the Armed Services, Rules, and Ways and Means Committees for intervening on this amendment to make it much less harmful than it was originally written.
The committees recognize, as do I, that the Fair Defense Competition Act, on which this amendment is based, is deeply flawed and would have significant international trade implications. Considering the fact that the original bill has been deemed unworkable, I hope we can put this issue to rest and proceed to get our warfighters the best tanker available for the best value to the taxpayer.
For nearly a decade, the Defense Department has sought to replace its aging fleet of aerial refueling tankers. There have been numerous problems with that process, and a source selection effort that should have ended years ago is only now getting close to final resolution.
If anything, Congress should avoid doing anything that would complicate an already drawn out competition. The Department of Defense should be able to award a contract based on the merits and the best value, without political or parochial considerations.
That said, I do not believe this particular amendment will have a significant impact on the process. The American warfighter and taxpayer deserves the best possible aerial refueling tanker. Let's get out of the way and let the Department of Defense make a decision based on the facts, not distractions.