Congressman Joe Courtney today applauded Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Readiness and Management Support subcommittee, after she rejected the Defense Departments proposal for a new Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round. McCaskill said Wednesday that she will not let new rounds of base closures pass her subcommittee this year, dealing what The Hill called "a potentially fatal blow" to the Pentagon's plans for BRAC in 2013.
McCaskill's statements come on top of concessions from Pentagon spokesman George Little that BRAC "was not part of the $487 billion proposal that [DoD] made to the Congress," and that BRAC does not produce up-front savings that would allow the Pentagon to comply with the Budget Control Act. In a recent House Armed Services Committee hearing, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told Rep. Courtney that the up-front costs in the 2005 BRAC round were "just unacceptable."
"The Pentagon's tepid defense of its request reinforces what I said to Secretary Panetta weeks ago: BRAC has no bearing on the Pentagon's budget plan or the Budget Control Act," said Congressman Courtney. "Accordingly, it should be discarded as a pointless distraction from the real and serious job at hand: producing a balanced approach to the nation's fiscal challenges that provides for a strong national defense.
"While the growing bipartisan opposition to a new BRAC makes Congressional approval of a new round unlikely in this Congress, southeastern Connecticut knows all too well that we must stay vigilant in defending our SUBASE. Since taking office, I have worked every day to ensure that our nation's "first and finest' submarine base is well positioned to carry out its core mission -- the support and training of our submarine force. I look forward to continuing to work with the Connecticut Congressional Delegation, Governor Malloy and his team, as well as our experienced members of Team Connecticut to continue to support the base and its critical role in our nation's defense."
Congressman Courtney is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and serves on the Readiness Subcommittee, which has primary jurisdiction over legislation proposing baseclosings.