Tag Archive: Tanker Deal 2


A reader sent this recently. -GFS

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TANKER

Help from Congress is needed

A recent editorial argued Congress should “butt out and let the Defense Department do its job” in procuring the new generation of Air Force refueling tankers.
Sadly, the problem is the Defense Department has failed for the better part of a decade to “do its job” in getting the American war fighter a modern, efficient, refueling tanker. Its efforts have resulted in a procurement scandal that saw a government official and a high-ranking Boeing executive go to prison for a corrupt lease proposal. In fact, this pillaging of the taxpayer might not have been exposed had U.S. Sen. John McCain not “butted in” and exposed the fraud.
Last year, the Defense Department awarded the tanker contract to the Northrop/EADS team only to later cave in to Boeing’s misinformation campaign and punt the problem to the next administration. So here we are, nearly a decade after the Defense Department began “doing its job,” with no new tankers in the air, or even in production.
Sometimes, congressional intervention is called for. I hope Rep. John Murtha, Sen. Daniel K. Inouye and the Alabama congressional delegation will continue to fight for a split buy.

-Concerned Citizen

 

 

This was sent to me today from a reader who thought it may be of interest to those who read my blogs. From Citizens Against Government Waste:  5-2-08  (Found on: http://thefourwindsbar.blogspot.com/2008/05/tell-congress-don’t-blow-tanker-deal-for.html  )

 

 

 

 

Dear Newsmax Reader,

 

 

I urgently need you to tell your U.S. Representative and Senators today to set aside political and parochial interests and instead support the interests of taxpayers and our troops!

Let me explain.

The U.S. Air Force recently announced that it would award the contract for its next generation of aerial refueling tankers to Northrop Grumman Corp. The competitive vetting process used by the Air Force is a vast improvement over the originally proposed tanker lease deal with Boeing Corporation, which was crafted by members of Congress behind closed doors without any competitive review or debate in order to subsidize Boeing’s 767 production line as the company’s profits sagged in the wake of 9/11.

In truth, the tanker lease deal was nothing more than a corporate welfare giveaway to one well-heeled, politically influential company at the expense of American taxpayers. Then-Senator Phil Gramm (R-Texas) called it the worst pork-barrel handout he had seen in his 22 years on Capitol Hill!

The proposed deal also proved to be a prime example of cronyism and corruption. Subsequent federal investigations led to jail terms for Boeing’s Chief Financial Officer and the Air Force procurement official who negotiated the deal, the resignation of other top Boeing executives, and a fine of more than $600 million for the company.

By contrast, the latest tanker decision was based on an open and transparent bidding process. The Air Force ranked each bid on five criteria and Northrop Grumman won over Boeing on four out of the five and tied in one category. According to published reports, both sides praised the fairness of the competition before the award was announced and agreed that this was the most rigorous acquisition process in the Department of Defense’s history. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is now reviewing the contract award, with a ruling on its propriety expected by June 19.

Yet, Boeing is again marshalling its congressional allies to try to secure through political favoritism what it couldn’t win in a free and fair competition! Help us stop them!

Boeing’s lobbyists and congressional friends are wrapping themselves in the flag and claiming that, in the name of “patriotism,” Congress should overturn the Air Force decision because Northrop’s prime subcontractor, the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., is a foreign company. The fact is that in today’s global economy companies like Boeing sell to European and other foreign governments all the time, their companies sell to us, and most U.S. defense systems, including those built by Boeing, contain foreign-made parts.

What’s more, despite Boeing’s propaganda to the contrary, the Northrop tanker will be assembled by American workers and outfitted with sensitive technology right here at home in Mobile, Alabama.

As the Wall Street Journal stated, “What’s really going on is a familiar scrum for federal cash, with politicians…using nationalism as cover for their pork-barreling.”

Among those Boeing allies screaming the loudest about the Air Force decision on Capitol Hill are House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha (D-Pa.), one of the most notorious backroom dealmakers in Congress whom the public voted the “2007 Porker of the Year” in an online poll, and Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), whose “bona fides” on defense and national security include earmarking $1.7 million in Defense Budget funds to “improve the shelf life of vegetables.”

While the $35 billion cost to taxpayers of the tanker contract is significant, more is at stake in this battle than dollars and cents. As Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics John Young said earlier this month, allowing Congress to preempt the GAO ruling or override the Air Force’s decision “would open up slippery slopes and dangerous precedents,” where members of Congress will simply select their favored pet contractors, regardless of the cost to taxpayers or the impact on our Armed Forces.

Please tell your Representative and Senators today to oppose any congressional intervention that would preempt the GAO review of the tanker contract award or overturn it based on political or parochial motives!

Sincerely,

 

Thomas A. Schatz
President

P.S. American servicemen and women are currently flying in tankers that date back to the early years of the Cold War. All the political maneuvering now underway in Congress just delays the Air Force in reequipping our forces with the newest and best technology. I urge you to tell your Representative and Senators to put the interests of taxpayers and American troops ahead of the “special interests” of one politically influential company.

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Citizens Against Government Waste is the nation’s largest taxpayer watchdog group with over one million members and supporters nationwide. It is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. For more information about CAGW, visit our website at www.cagw.org. Help CAGW wage this battle to preserve the integrity of the defense procurement process by making a tax-deductible contribution today.

Help us win this battle for taxpayers and our troops by getting as many Americans as possible to tell Congress: Stop meddling in the defense procurement process! Forward this message to your friends and neighbors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  1. Uproar over tanker contract continues as lawmakers clash
    By David Hess, CongressDaily

Threatening to derail the Air Force’s selection of a foreign-designed air tanker to refuel military warplanes, a group of lawmakers led a Capitol Hill rally of American aerospace workers Thursday and pledged to shoot down the deal.

As the senators and representatives lined up at a news conference with Boeing Co. union leaders and engineers across the street from the Capitol, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., took the Senate floor to stoutly defend the Air Force’s choice of a tanker that would be built by a consortium of Northrop Grumman Corp. and EADS, a European consortium whose Airbus airframe would serve as the tanker’s skeleton.

While it remains unclear exactly how the huge contract for the 179 tankers could be repudiated, Rep. Norman Dicks, D-Wash., whose district embraces thousands of Boeing workers, said the upcoming Defense appropriations process could provide the opportunity.

Full story: http://www.govexec.com/story_page.cfm?articleid=39808&dcn=e_gvet

 

 

Uproar over tanker contract continues as lawmakers clash

CongressDaily

 

Threatening to derail the Air Force’s selection of a foreign-designed air tanker to refuel military warplanes, a group of lawmakers led a Capitol Hill rally of American aerospace workers Thursday and pledged to shoot down the deal.

As the senators and representatives lined up at a news conference with Boeing Co. union leaders and engineers across the street from the Capitol, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., took the Senate floor to stoutly defend the Air Force’s choice of a tanker that would be built by a consortium of Northrop Grumman Corp. and EADS, a European consortium whose Airbus airframe would serve as the tanker’s skeleton.

While it remains unclear exactly how the huge contract for the 179 tankers could be repudiated, Rep. Norman Dicks, D-Wash., whose district embraces thousands of Boeing workers, said the upcoming Defense appropriations process could provide the opportunity.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who led the protest, said the bipartisan opposition to the deal is weighing all of the options to short-circuit the Air Force’s decision. One risky approach might be an attempt to abrogate any contracts between the Pentagon and Northrop Grumman-EADS — an option that could send the dispute into U.S. courts and drag out the actual building of the plane by years.

Boeing is now seeking to overturn to contract through the formal protest it filed with GAO, which must issue a ruling by June 19.

At the rally, Murray and Dicks were joined by several other lawmakers whose states and districts could be harmed by Boeing’s loss of the work. Others on hand to rail against the Air Force decision were Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Reps. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan.; Jay Inslee, D-Wash., and Dave Reichert, R-Wash.

The protestors accused the Air Force of stacking the deck against Boeing and, as Dicks complained, “doing tricky things” to justify the award to Northrop-EADS. “They bent over backward to make sure Boeing didn’t get it,” he fumed.

Opponents of the contract argued that U.S. security is undermined when contracts for American weapons systems and technology are granted to foreign companies, and contended that defense dollars should not be spent abroad. “We need to keep our taxpayers’ dollars here at home to help our country’s economy,” Murray said.

The construction of the planes could cost up to $40 billion over a decade. Boeing workers have said the loss of the contract could end thousands of jobs in Washington, Kansas and other states.

As the protest of the contract continued, Wicker was on the Senate floor extolling its virtues. Northrop Grumman’s proposal, he maintained, represented “a better product and better value for the taxpayer.” He noted that assembly of the plane, from major parts manufactured in Europe, would take place in Alabama and parts for it would be made in 49 U.S. states, including along the Gulf Coast in his home state.

He took issue with Boeing’s estimate of job losses, insisting that the Northrop Grumman tanker deal “will create 48,000 direct and indirect jobs across our country,” and complained that opponents have spread misinformation about the economic impact of the project.