(June 17, 2014) The Senate is likely to include funding for the A-10 Thunderbolt for at least another year. This comes after a House committee voted not to fund the close-air support weapon that the Air Force wants to retire.
Defense News quotes sources on Capitol Hill saying the Senate Appropriations Committee is leaning toward funding the aircraft for another year by shifting nearly $340 million from elsewhere in the budget. The House Appropriations Committee voted down a plan from Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., to fund the aircraft with money from operations and maintenance. An amendment is expected to be introduced in the House this week restoring the funding.
The report quotes a congressional source saying the Air Force ultimately might be able to retire the aircraft if it does a better job of lobbying Congress during the next year. Also, a think tank analyst says the House committee vote spells doom for the aircraft eventually.
"House defense appropriators are a leading indicator of where Congress is eventually going to have to go as a group, whether they like it or not," said Mackenzie Eaglen of the American Enterprise Institute. "This is the beginning of the end for the A-10."
The report says, too, that the Air Force's Combat Rescue Helicopter program is at risk if Congress forces the service to fund the A-10. The helicopter is meant to replace the H-60 Pave Hawk combat search-and-rescue aircraft.