U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan (PA-07) together with Rep. Bob Brady (PA-01) today led an effort to prevent the elimination of the V-22 Osprey Program. The House voted down an amendment offered by Reps. Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) to H.R. 4310, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013. The amendment would have stripped funding for the V-22 Program.
"I'm proud to once again stand up for the V-22 program and the Pennsylvania workers who make it possible," said Meehan. "Our military commanders and troops on the ground rely on the V-22. Major studies from both government and industry show that the V-22 is more operationally effective and cost efficient than any helicopter alternative. The Osprey brings effectiveness to our troops and value to taxpayers. I want to thank Congressman Brady and the entire Pennsylvania delegation for their support in this effort."
Local labor leaders applauded Meehan for his successful work to block this amendment.
"The members of UAW Local 1069 know that we have an advocate in Congressman Meehan. We are appreciative of his tireless efforts to fight for the V-22, the Chinook, and our workers," said Chris Owens, President of UAW Local 1069. "He understands what the Osprey program means, not just for our military, but for the working families in our region."
In a bipartisan letter to Members of Congress before today's vote, Meehan joined Reps. Brady and Jim Gerlach (PA-06) to urge support for the V-22 Osprey program and oppose the Quigley-Guitierrez amendment.
Since coming to Congress, Meehan has successfully led the effort to secure continued funding for the Osprey program and fight back attempts to eliminate the program.
The V-22 Osprey -- manufactured by workers at Boeing's Ridley Township facility in conjunction with Bell Helicopter -- is a tilt-rotor aircraft that combines the vertical takeoff and landing abilities of a helicopter with the speed and range of a turbo-prop airplane. The V-22 is deployed by the Marine Corps and Air Force Special Forces, enabling them to conduct combat operations at unprecedented speeds and greater ranges, provide Medevac capabilities to wounded troops, and offer remote resupply capabilities over greater distances than a conventional helicopter. From casualty evacuation and humanitarian support -- such as food and medical supplies and transportation of victims in Haiti -- to combat support and direct enemy assaults, the V-22 has been deployed in Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan. Its unique capabilities were the reason it was chosen to transport Osama bin Laden's body from Pakistan to the USS Carl Vinson.
Earlier this year, the Pentagon's top tester highlighted the V-22 improvements in safety, reliability and combat effectiveness. In its annual report, the Director of Operational Test & Evaluation, Dr. Michael Gilmore gave the program high remarks, stating that new software upgrades "provided new piloting options and power margins" that were "increasing safety and reducing pilot workload."
Procured under a multi-year procurement contract, the V-22 program will save a proposed $852 million over single-year contracts, while providing a required capability for the Marine Corps and Air Force Special Operations.