A US Senate panel has rejected a funding plan by House counterparts to protect the A-10. (Staff Sgt. Austin M. May/US Air Force)
WASHINGTON — The US Senate Armed Services Committee will reject a plan approved by its House counterpart to use emergency funding to keep alive the A-10 attack plane.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., told reporters Tuesday that the House Armed Services Committee failed to offset its A-10 plan with a cut from another part of 2015 federal budget.
Instead, HASC, via an amendment passed late last Wednesday during a marathon mark up of its 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, voted to use money from the overseas contingencies operations (OCO) fund.
Levin balked at that approach, saying it is not a “legitimate” nor an acceptable budgetary maneuver.
“OCO’s not a legitimate offset because it’s not even in the budget,” Levin said.
What’s more, federal spending caps don’t apply to the OCO budget, meaning that shifting monies from that fund to the annual Pentagon budget would breach the caps in violation of existing law.
Levin declined to say what his panel will propose to keep the A-10 funded and alive, which he supports, when it marks up its bill later this month.
But he did say that any proposal by a SASC member to block a planned Pentagon program cut must include an offset from an annual appropriation — not emergency funding.
The Air Force wants to retire its A-10 fleet to save money.