A bipartisan group of nine House members urged Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel “to take off the table” the idea of eliminating the KC-10 tanker fleet as a cost-saving move in Fiscal 2015. “We respect that difficult decisions must be made to maintain mission capability within the current fiscal constraints,” wrote the lawmakers in their Oct. 29 letter to Hagel. ” However, we strongly oppose the divestiture of the KC-10 to meet budget targets. Our nation’s aerial refueling capability is too strategically important to risk,” they stated. Rep. Jon Runyan (R-N.J.) and Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) led the group. The Air Force’s East Coast KC-10 hub, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, is located in Runyan’s congressional district. Garamendi’s district includes Travis Air Force Base, the West Coast KC-10 hub. “The KC-10 is an aircraft with decades of service life remaining and an ongoing integral role to play in our national defense interests,” states the missive. Also signing it were: Reps. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.), Leonard Lance (R-N.J.), Frank Lobiono (R-N.J.), George Miller (D-Calif.), Christopher Smith (R-N.J.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), and Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) (See also Runyan release.)
Top lawmakers on Capitol Hill announced Dec. 2 that they have reached a deal to extend the continuing resolution currently funding the government into February. Now, the House and Senate will have to scramble to pass the legislation by 11:59 p.m. Dec. 3 to avoid a temporary shutdown.