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In Wake of Tanker Decision, Reichert, Hare Ask House Leaders to Address National and Economic Security Concerns

Press Release

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL), along with 37 of their Republican and Democratic colleagues, today sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio) expressing their concern about the national and economic security implications of the Air Force's decision to award a $35 billion dollar aerial tanker contract to Northrup Grumman and the European Aeronautic Defense and Space (EADS) Company.

"The GAO is currently engaged in examining the many legal and process questions associated with the Air Force's tanker competition and decision," the letter reads. "But the necessary GAO review will not address the broader national and economic security concerns raised by the tanker decision. Congress must address these serious issues before the tanker program can move forward—we owe it to the warfighter, to American workers, and to American taxpayers to ensure not just that the technical acquisition process worked as it was supposed to, but that the nation buys the best tanker."

"We want Congressional leadership to understand that the Boeing tanker decision is not inconsequential to our national security or the responsibilities of Congress," said Reichert. "The recent decision jeopardizes our national security, and hurts our American defense industry workforce. We live in a time when we're all aware of the threats to our nation and the importance of keeping our citizens safe. It is critical that wherever possible the companies making our sensitive military equipment should be American. We need to take a step back, look inside our own processes and policies and determine if there's a fix to be made. GAO is doing their job and we should do ours."

"The GAO study is looking at flaws in the process," Hare said. "Congress needs to examine the underlying problem. This tanker contract represents an unprecedented break from the Buy America policies at a time when our manufacturing industry is already taking it on the chin. With 260,000 jobs lost in the first half of this year alone, we cannot afford to outsource our defense industrial base. I hope my colleagues will keep that in mind as the House begins debate on the Fiscal Year 2009 defense policy bill."

Below is the full letter.

May 14, 2008

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable John Boehner
Republican Leader
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Madame Speaker and Mr. Leader:

We are writing to make you aware of our deep concern with the Air Force's recent decision to award a $35 billion tanker air refueling contract to the Northrop Grumman/European Aeronautic Defense & Space Company (EADS) team offering a tanker based on an Airbus A330 airplane.

Fundamental flaws in the conduct of the tanker competition appear to have affected the Air Force's decision and underpin the ongoing legal protest of the award to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). On many levels, the decision is contrary to America's broad national security and economic interests. And, the selection of Northrop/EADS (parent company to Airbus) is at extreme odds with the Administration's trade case at the World Trade Organization that alleges Airbus received billions of dollars of illegal subsidies that have long distorted the commercial airplane market.

The GAO is currently engaged in examining the many legal and process questions associated with the Air Force's tanker competition and decision. But the necessary GAO review will not address the broader national and economic security concerns raised by the tanker decision. Congress must address these serious issues before the tanker program can move forward - we owe it to the warfighter, to American workers, and to American taxpayers to ensure not just that the technical acquisition process worked as it was supposed to, but that the nation buys the best tanker.

We urge your support in ensuring that the House addresses these important national security and industrial base issues in the months ahead.

Sincerely,

DAVE REICHERT PHIL HARE

Member of Congress Member of Congress


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