A decision from House and Senate negotiators on the FY 2013 defense authorization bill to eliminate the F-16s of the Iowa Air National Guard's 132nd Fighter Wing simply won't fly, according to Iowa Congressman Tom Latham. Latham today introduced legislation that would subject White House-backed, arbitrary cuts to Air Force aircraft contained in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report to an independent cost-benefit analysis, and prevent the cuts from taking effect before such an analysis were complete.
Latham worked with colleagues over the past several months to ensure that similar legislative language was contained in both the House-passed and Senate-passed versions of the NDAA, but the bicameral conference committee tasked with smoothing over differences between the two bills dropped the provision despite robust bipartisan support not to do so.
"House and Senate negotiators erred in adopting the White House's wrongheaded plan to cut key Air Force assets without proper justification, and my bill would make amends for their mistake," Congressman Latham said. "Choosing to eliminate a historically successful and reliable fighter wing like the 132nd is a serious decision, and to not weigh the consequences with a cost-benefit analysis and an evaluation of the national security implications is just foolish."
"Because the final version of the NDAA contains these cutbacks without proper reasoning, I am calling on President Obama to veto the bill," Latham added, citing his belief that it is now up to the President to halt the cuts and start over on a clean sheet of paper or make the cuts reality with his signature of the NDAA. "Iowa helped launch the President's national ambitions four years ago and played a key role this November in extending his tenure. His extensive knowledge of our state and our economy from his many visits should make the case very clear that he must halt his administration's flawed plan and support Iowa jobs and national security."
Latham's bill has the backing of each member of the Iowa delegation, including Congressman Leonard Boswell, who is the lead Democratic cosponsor of the bill.