Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Approval By The Senate Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee Of A One-Year Air Force Structure Freeze

[Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has led, with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Senate efforts to reject the Air Force’s initial budget proposal for reducing the force structure of the Air National Guard.  Leahy is the longtime co-chair of the Senate National Guard Caucus and is number two in seniority on the Appropriations Committee and on its Defense Subcommittee.]

“I have been working closely with Chairman Inouye on this issue and was pleased that we were able to include full funding for the Air Guard in this annual defense budget bill.  All four of the committees of jurisdiction have now rejected the proposal to cut the Air National Guard by five percent in fiscal year 2013.  Cutting your most cost effective component, to save the least amount of money, while reducing your depth and capacity, adds up to exactly the wrong answer for the Air Force, the Air Guard and the nation’s defense in dealing with the budget constraints and security parameters that we face.

“While this year got off to a rocky start between the Air Force and Congress, I think both sides now agree that it is better to work together, particularly since everyone wants the same outcome: a strong, effective, and affordable Air Force in the years to come.”

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