WARNER ROBINS -- 8th District U.S. Rep. Austin Scott and a fellow Republican who visited Robins Air Force Base with him Monday said they will join an effort to fight automatic spending cuts in which military spending would take a $500 billion hit.
The “supercommittee” charged with coming up with a plan for $1.2 trillion in cuts during the next decade announced Monday that it had given up. By not having an agreement by midnight Monday, an automatic trigger will go in effect that will more than double the $465 billion in military cuts already in place.
Scott and U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, vowed to work to stop the automatic trigger from happening. If it does, it will likely mean more cuts at Robins -- as well as every other military base. The trigger is set to go into effect in 2013.
“We absolutely cannot let that happen,” Conaway said. “Austin and I are going to be in that group who are going to move heaven and earth to keep that from happening.”
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Scott said he was disappointed the committee did not come to an agreement.
“The bottom line is we’ve been deficit spending in this country for well over a decade,” Scott said. “We obviously can’t continue all of these deficits. I had hoped the men and women on the supercommittee would come forward with a package.”
They made the comments shortly after visiting the base, where they toured the Joint STARS area and met with Maj. Gen. Robert McMahon, the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center commander.
Scott said they discussed the reorganization and cuts at Robins that will mean the loss of about 600 jobs, but the main reason he brought Conaway for the visit was because he wants fellow members of Congress to know about Robins.
“Anytime I get the chance to bring one of the other members to Robins Air Force Base to show them what the great men and women who work there are doing, we are going to get them down here,” he said. “So we know we have their support when we go back to D.C.”
Conaway said he was impressed with McMahon’s leadership in improving the on-time delivery rates for aircraft maintained at Robins. In one year, the base has gone from delivering more than half of its planes late to 100 percent on-time delivery.
“Gen. McMahon and his team have gone through a very businesslike approach to looking at how they process airplanes through their system,” he said. “They are tracking a variety of key factors that help them keep track of how well they are doing. That’s the kind of attention to detail we need across all of the Department of Defense.”
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.