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Senate panel votes to keep A-10 flying

Jul. 15, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
KC-135s refuel Idaho's A-10s in mid-flight
The A-10, which the Air Force has recommended for elimination, on Tuesday gained backing from the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee. (Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur / Air Force)
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The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee has joined the House and the Senate Armed Services committees in protecting the A-10.

The subcommittee, in approving its version of the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill on Tuesday, included $338 million to maintain the A-10 fleet, which the Air Force has proposed cutting to save money.

The bill now goes to the full Senate Appropriations Committee for approval. Both the Senate and House Armed Services committees authorized funding for the A-10 in their versions of the fiscal 2015 National Defense Authorization Act.

The House Appropriations Committee, however, voted June 10 to block an amendment protecting the A-10. The amendment, offered by Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., would have transferred $339.3 million from other parts of the Air Force’s operations and maintenance budget to keep the jet flying.

If the Senate’s version of the spending bill is approved, the two chambers would form a conference committee to negotiate a compromise.

The spending bill approved by the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee includes $549.3 billion in base and overseas contingency operations funding. It also includes:

■ Full funding for the administration’s plan to buy 34 F-35s.

■ $100 million for the Air Force’s combat rescue helicopter procurement process.

■ $31 million to continue operating all 31 E-3 AWACS.

■ $102 million for an additional MC-130J.

■ $125 million for an additional, competitive space launch. This language opens the door for more competition from companies such as SpaceX for military launches.

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